Ponies belonging to a four-time Olympic medallist escaped on to a major road after “opportunistic” thieves stole a section of fencing.
Police Scotland visited Ian Stark and wife Jenny after the four ponies were found on the A7 in Selkirk, the Scottish borders, at 5.30am last Friday (29 May).
“Coincidentally it was the police who came across the ponies on the road. They got them into a nearby field and went to our neighbours who said the ponies might be ours,” the triple Badminton winner told H&H.
“We got them back into our field and decided to check all the fencing. We’d recently put up a brand new fence and gate and when we got to the bottom we found this big gap. ”
Ian said someone had sawn through the fence and removed five rails.
“There’s a gate beside the fence that can be opened, so it couldn’t have been someone trying to gain access. It was definitely a chainsaw so somebody was ready to take what they wanted,” he said.
“A lot of people in the area are saying fences have been taken down in different places, both wooden and wire, so I don’t know if it’s linked. The police came out on and think with the lockdown someone has been doing something at home, needed some wood and helped themselves. They don’t think there was anything malicious about it – they just think it was someone opportunistic.”
Ian posted about the incident on Facebook and his post has received more than 650 shares.
“I was amazed it’s been shared as much as it has, there were hundreds of comments and more than 1,200 likes. People have really taken it to heart,” he said.
“Ponies getting on the road is very dangerous, especially as we’re based quite near the hospital and it could have been a member of staff driving home after a night shift. Fortunately no one and no ponies were injured,” he said.
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The incident was captured on the rider’s body camera
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Ian said he is checking the fence morning and night.
“The police have been very good but they don’t think there’s much chance of catching who it was, unless they catch someone in the act. It hasn’t been touched again so we hope it was just a one-off,” he said.
“You can start imagining things and get in a panic, but we think someone just wanted the wood; I would have given them a few planks if they’d come and asked!”
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