Hampshire police is warning owners to be wary of cut-price saddles after a riding school and livery yard had £30,000 worth of tack stolen last week (8 December).
The burglary took place between midnight and 7am at The Kiln Equestrian Centre, near Farnham.
Burglars unscrewed the padlocked gate off the wall to enter the yard and disabled the CCTV cameras.
They used the owner’s tools to break through a steel security door into the caged tack room and took saddles, bridles and equipment away in the wheelbarrows on site.
“It was a really brazen attack. They walked across a fully lit yard, with people living on site,” said Alanna Andrew, whose mother Angela Macleod has run the riding school and livery yard for 25 years and never had a burglary before.
Angela told H&H that she believed the centre’s new indoor school and nationwide advertising of clinics may have put Kiln Equestrian “on the radar” of organised tack thieves.
Everything in the tack room was taken apart from two synthetic saddles, bandages and a couple of pony bridles.
The saddles stolen were worth £500-£2,000 and included brand new dressage saddles and a custom made Albion saddle.
A few days earlier burglars had visited nearby yards in Elstead and at another in Grayshot in Hampshire but here they went away empty handed after being disturbed.
Hampshire Horsewatch co-ordinator, David Collings, is warning horse owners to remember thieves that steal equine property are not speculative and are probably part of an organised crime group.
“They will plan their crime which invariably means they visit places they intend to steal from. Get used to being observant and report all vehicles and persons you see in your locality who you do not recognise to the police,” he advises.
Anyone being offered cut-price saddles is being urged to call the police quoting the crime reference 44140438048.
The owners of The Kiln Equestrian Centre are offering a reward of £1,000 for any information leading to the return of the stolen tack.
“These items have got to be put onto the market somehow so owners should be buyer beware. Ask questions about where the tack came from and don’t buy anything just because it is cheap. You could be buying someone else’s misery,” cautioned Mr Collings.
Distinctive items to watch out for include:
- Albion GP 17” brown with metal plate under skirt that reads “Custom Made 2012” and stamped with unique reference number “127AB4”, two small scratches on left side of pommel.
- Pennwood black GP saddle with dark/ mustard yellow underside. Medium narrow fit, Wide ribcage, 17 1/2”
- County old style dressage saddle Havana brown , very narrow, 16”,
- County black dressage saddle 17 1/2” medium, dent to pommel, lacing at back of saddle
- Wychanger Barton brown two tone GP saddle 17” medium
- GFS bridle extra full size in black patent rolled leather with “crank” noseband & Swarovski crystal brow band
- Harrods black cob size bridle
- Five Ideal GP saddles in medium/ narrow.
For more details ring 07828 411768; a full list of all the tack stolen can be seen on www.nsed.co.uk/hampshirehorsewatch
Following the burglary Kiln Equestrian has installed high tech alarm systems, which if triggered will immediately alert a key holding security company, together with security fencing and trained guard dogs.
The theft in Hampshire comes five days after 10 saddles worth £6,000 were stolen from a private yard at Birkrigg Park in Stainton, near Kendal in Cumbria.