Organisers of a popular horse trials have vowed to go ahead with the event as planned, despite one of their feature cross-country fences being destroyed by vandals.
Yesterday (2 August) at around 7.45pm, a brush oxer was set alight at Hendersyde Park Horse Trials, causing around £2,000 worth of damage.
This weekend (6-7 August) the Kelso venue will host its British Eventing (BE) horse trials in aid of local and national charities.
Organiser Livy Agnew, mother of successful event rider Charlotte, said the damage was “devastating” for the Hendersyde team, but the event would continue as planned.
“This has really upset us as we have spent a long time in preparation for this weekend. This is pure vandalism,” Mrs Agnew told H&H.
“The groundsman had been in the park five minutes before and saw smoke coming from the area. He saw the big fence — a brush oxer with a ditch — ablaze.”
The team tried to tackle the fire with their own extinguishers, but realised the fire service was needed.
“By this time the fence was well ablaze, there was no way we could deal with it ourselves,” said Mrs Agnew.
“We were incredibly lucky the whole wood didn’t go up.”
Firefighters attended and the fence was totally destroyed before the flames were extinguished.
“It’s really sad, we run the event for charity and we feel people should have a little more respect for other people’s enjoyment and property,” Mrs Agnew added.
“We will continue as planned for the weekend — it takes a lot more than that to finish us off.”
Police are now appealing for witnesses.
“Officers are conducting local inquiries to trace those responsible and anyone with information is asked to come forward,” said constable Gavin Liddle of Kelso Police Station.
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“Organisers have been left deeply frustrated and disappointed as a result of this reckless act of destruction and we are keen to hear from anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity in the park on Tuesday evening.
“In addition, anyone with any further information that can assist with our inquiries is also asked to contact police immediately.”
Those with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or alternatively, the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.