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An eventer is appealing for information after more than £25,000 worth of tack, equipment and rugs were stolen from his yard in Co Durham.

James Adams, 36, had his yard in Darlington raided overnight on Saturday 8 November.

Thieves removed the door from his tackroom before taking every saddle, bridle, rug and piece of equipment in there.

Devoucoux and Amerigo saddles, rugs, riding hats, clippers, back protectors, boots and even the hose pipe off the wall, were among the items stolen.

They even stripped the horses’ rugs from their backs and emptied the lorry of its contents — which included tweed jackets, Ariat chaps and safety helmets.

“I’m absolutely devastated,” James told H&H. “It’s not just the monetary value of what has been taken. It feels as if they have stripped the soul out of our yard.

“A lot of the competition rugs have my name embroided on them so they can’t use them, and my back protector is in my colours.

“I have spent a lifetime collecting my equipment and to have it taken in this way is terrible. Finding the horses, who are clipped in their stables, with no rugs was just awful. They would have been freezing ”

James said the support he has received since the break in has been fantastic.

He added: “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity from people within the equestrian community, locally and further afield, as well as from family and friends. I have been given equipment from different people so my business can carry on. It has been quite humbling.”

James has been based at the yard at Whinny Hill in Darlington for over 15 years.

He teaches and produces young horses as well as competing up to four-star level.

PC Chris Horner, of Co Durham Police, urged anyone who has been offered expensive tack at cheap prices to get in touch.

He added: “This was a high-value theft and we will be following up all possible leads given to us.”

Anyone with any information should call police on 101 and ask for PC Horner.