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Riders warned about stolen products advertised cheap online

Riders are being urged to take care when buying online at low prices.

The warning comes after high-end riding boots stolen from Zebra Products last year were found for sale on eBay as recently as last month.

Around £150,000 worth of equestrian stock was taken from the company’s Flintshire warehouse last January.

At the time, Simon Middleton of Zebra Products told H&H police believed it was a professional job. Boots by Konig and Veredus, as well as Amerigo and Equipe saddles were taken from the warehouse.

Zebra’s insurer paid out in August last year.

“After a long, painstaking process we were eventually paid,” Mr Middleton told H&H.

“It took a while as we needed to prove we had bought the goods originally and get the invoices — which were in Euros — and work out the currency rates.”

He added that they noticed fairly shortly after the theft there were boots for sale on eBay.

“The police raided properties in the north west and found the boots — they had our codes and serial numbers so we knew they were ours,” he said.

He added that the situation “then went quiet” for several months, but they were contacted by a lady who believed she had bought a pair of their stolen boots on eBay in January.

The lady, who wished to remain anonymous, told H&H she paid £103 (including postage and packaging) for a pair of Grandgester Konig boots worth over £700.

“I didn’t know if they’d fit but as they were such a good price I thought I’d go for it,” she said. “But when they didn’t and I looked online again I saw several very similar adverts and was suspicious.”

But North Wales Police told her that it was “no longer investigating” the matter. She was then told it was a case of “buyer beware” — and advised to seek a refund and to alert trading standards.

“I was totally surprised,” she said. “I thought they’d be more interested. I don’t want to ask for a refund as the sellers have my address and I don’t want to sell on stolen goods.”

Mr Middleton said the situation was “frustrating”.

“If you’re buying £800 boots for £100 ask yourself why they are that price,” he said.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (21 February 2013)

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