St Leonards Riding School in Toton, Nottingham, had an estimated 20 saddles stolen by a group of youths who drove straight into the yard parked outside the tackroom and began loading up their car.

The raid, which took place at around 1.30pm on Monday (24 February), and involved a blue H registered car, was witnessed by a member of staff.

Yard manager Chris Davidson explained:”The majority of staff were at lunch, but a male member of staff saw the car drive in. At first he thought they were there to collect manure, but he then spotted them outside thetackroom loading saddles into the car. He shouted at them and shut the yard gates before phoning 999.

“He saw at least three men, but there could have been four, all in their late teens or early 20s jump into the car and accelerate down the yard towards the gate. They drove straight through the gates, smashing through them and out onto the road.”

It is reported that the youths then drove flat out over speed bumps in road causing some of the saddles to fly out of one of the doors.

“The tackroom was unlocked but we believe that the thieves had previously planned to break in at night, said Chris. “However, because the yard is securely padlocked and alarmed, they must have thought their only chance was making a grab onthe tack during the day.”

it is estimated that up to 20 saddles were stolen in the raid, mostly brown or black GP’s, but according to Chris the tally could be even more. “Some of our liveries take their tack home, so until we check, we won’tknow exactly how many have gone.

“We do have some spare saddles so lessons will be continuing as normal but we are still shocked that this incident took place in broad daylight.”

A police spokesperson from Derbyshire police said: “There are still several lines of inquiry being followed up in relation to the suspects and the vehicles believed to have been used in this incident.

“On the afternoon of the robbery, a blue F registered Mazda 626 containing six saddles, was foundabandoned at a pub in Sawley. A witness saw tack being removed and put into another car by three white men.

“Several witnesses have given us some good information, but we would still like to hear from anyone else who believe they could help. In particular we would like to hear from those involved in the trade or anyone who is offered tack that appears to be in an unusual circumstance or at a knockdown price.”

Anyone with information should contact Long Eaton police (tel: 01773 570100) and quote the crime reference number CR/15043-03.