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Police in Sussex are searching for a convicted horse thief who has been missing for nearly a month.

Tony Thackaberry, 44, from Surrey, was found guilty of stealing five horses and a horsebox in his absence after he failed to appear at Hove Crown Court on 21 August.

Mr Thackaberry stole the horsebox along with three horses and two three-month-old foals from a farm in Cowfold, Sussex, last year.

On 31 July 2008 Mr Thackaberry (pictured right) Tony Thackaberry is on the runbroke into the farm, loaded the horses into the box and drove the animals away.

The horsebox was later found alight near Edenbridge, but the horses have not been found.

During the incident two German shepherd dogs were severely beaten, but Mr Thackaberry has not been charged in relation to the attack.

Mr Thackaberry can not be traced and police are urging anyone with information to come forward. The force believe he could be in the Surrey or East Grinstead areas.

PC Natalie Davies said: “It’s very important that Mr Thackaberry is found so that he can be sentenced for the offences for which he has been convicted. The value of the property and the animals stolen that night runs into tens of thousands of pounds and the crime was obviously a distressing one for the victim.

“Sadly the same farm was targeted again in December 2008. This time one of the dogs was attacked so severely that it died as a result of its injuries. No-one has been brought to justice for this offence and I appeal to anyone with any information to come forward.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the police on 0845 6070999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.