‘They thought they were untouchable’: men plead guilty to show centre tack thefts

  • Two men who stole and handled tack stolen from shows “thought they were untouchable” but had no option other than pleading guilty, police said.

    Jamie Aston, 32, and Kieran Quinn, 36, appeared at Chester Crown Court on 8 August and pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and two counts of handling stolen goods. The pair, both of Arthur Street, Blaengwynfi, admitted to thefts, from tack lockers at Bolesworth in July last year, and handling stolen tack from Weston Lawns in April 2022 and the David Broome Event Centre last July.

    H&H reported last year that Ibi Whatley and Wayne Garrick, whose saddles worth a total of about £30,000 were stolen at a show, were calling on the horse world to unite to defeat tack-stealing “scumbags”. One of their saddles has been recovered but there have been no arrests in relation to these thefts and the other saddles are still missing.

    Ibi collated evidence to help the police investigation, and set up a Facebook group to list stolen tack, which she thanked Jane Rudd and Emily Santos for helping run.

    “It’s worked out well,” she told H&H today (11 August). “I can’t take all the credit, because all I’ve done is shout, but Wayne and I shouted loudly, which I think helped get people in gear.

    “I had no idea who they were but because people were made aware, [members of the public] stepped up and come forward. After the show [where our saddles were stolen] we said, ‘This needs to stop. We can’t go out competing worried that our belongings won’t be there when we get back’.”

    One of the stolen saddles

    Ibi said she thought the united approach and awareness-raising was taken a step further than previously, if saddles were stolen, when people might post on Facebook but hear nothing more.

    “I hope we’ve played a small part in this,” she said. “It’s been quiet recently; I haven’t heard of any other show thefts. We do a lot of stay-away shows and we feel a bit safer now. People are more aware, and we find people talking to each other; they communicate and I hope people think twice now before they try to take things. Something had to be done because they were just getting away with it.”

    A spokesman for Cheshire Constabulary said officers were called to reports of multiple thefts from Bolesworth on 3 July last year.

    “Officers attended the scene and found that unknown offenders had gained access to the site before forcing entry into multiple lockers and stealing a number of equestrian items,” he said.

    “Telecommunication enquiries linked Jamie Aston and Kieran Quinn to the investigation.

    “While investigating the incident, police were informed of two other incidents involving theft of horse tack at Weston Lawns in Coventry on 24 April 2022 and David Broome Event Centre in Chepstow on 10 July 2022.”

    On 20 July last year, officers searched an address on Arthur Street, Blaengwynfi, and Aston and Quinn were arrested on suspicion of theft. A warrant was also conducted at a premises linked to Aston and Quinn in Cardiff.

    “During the warrants, officers recovered a number of stolen items and further evidence linking them to the thefts,” the spokesman said.

    The pair will be sentenced on 15 September.

    Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham said: “Aston and Quinn thought they were untouchable, attempting to target premises across Cheshire, motivated by their own illegal gains.

    “However, as they continued, the more careless they became, and officers from Chester Proactive team were already on to them. The evidence gathered during the investigation left Aston and Quinn no option but to plead guilty.

    “I hope this demonstrates that we will continue to do all we can to crack down on those who think they can come into Cheshire to commit crime.

    “The effect this type of crime has on the victims and the local community should not be underestimated so we will continue to make every effort to find those responsible and put them before the courts.”

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