Rugs stolen off horses’ backs: dealer urges all theft victims to call police

  • A Kent horse dealer is urging yard owners to report all small thefts and suspicious activities to police after thieves took the rugs from her horses’ backs.

    Jodie Lee Stainer arrived at her yard to find the rugs had been removed from three stabled horses, as well as others turned out in the field.

    “It was bitter and they were shivering — all the horses were freshly clipped,” she said. “The rugs were layered so we think around six or seven have gone.”

    It was the third time in four years that Jodie has been the victim of theft, despite the fact she has moved premises.

    “It seems to happen around the same time every year in December — it can’t be coincidence and it must have been planned as my yard is very secluded,” she added.

    Jodie, who runs MJL Equestrian, believes the thieves were taking the rugs for their own horses and not to sell on — so marking the rugs with postcodes or similar would have been futile.

    “They’ve scoured the size of the horses and they’ve taken the smaller rugs,” she said. “They’ve also gone into the grooming area and gone through the brushes and sprays. They’ve only taken a few things like pig oil, which makes me think they want it for cobs.”

    Jodie warned that the thieves tended to “come for bits and bobs to start with” and a few weeks later tended to “come back for the tackroom fully equipped”.

    In a previous burglary, 13 of the rider’s saddles were taken.

    “I think people sometimes don’t report small thefts because they think the police won’t do anything but they do come out quite quickly when it’s urgent. They’ve been searching the area today [1 December] as well as investigating the crime scene,” she said. “If everyone tells them [about incidents] it can only help.”

    Jodie said she is now left “very scared” for her horses and has been trying to take measures to protect them, but it is difficult as the raiders came in across neighbouring farmland, ramming a barrow through her mains electric fencing.

    “I’ve gone out and bought five extra padlocks and asked my landlord if he can put up extra cameras but there’s only so much you can do,” she said. “There’s nothing you can do to stop the rugs being snatched as you can’t cable-tie them on or barricade the horses in.

    “I did say I was going to spray ‘these are stolen’ on them but I don’t think that would look good to my clients!”

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