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‘Sad day’ as thieves steal tack worth £5k from rescue centre

A horse rescue centre is appealing for help replacing stolen tack after burglars made off with saddles and bridles worth about £5,000.

The Isleham Horse and Pony Rescue centre in southeast Cambridgeshire, established more than 25 years ago by Wendy Davies, is home to around 100 horses as well as 300 other farm animals.

Wendy’s daughter Hayley, who runs the rescue alongside her mother on a volunteer basis, discovered the items missing when she turned up at 4.30am on Sunday morning (July 1).

“I went to unlock the feed room as usual and found the door was open — I thought mum might have forgotten to lock it at first,” Hayley said. “Then I saw a lot of stuff on the floor and I wondered if it was the yard cats but when I noticed scrape marks on the metal parts of the door, I realised there had been a break-in.

“The first thing I did was check all the stables and fields to make sure the animals were OK and it wasn’t until I came back that I realised our £700 generator and fence batteries were also gone. It was a bit of a sad day for us.”

All animals at the centre have a home for life and the 75-acre facility operates an on-site loan scheme for rescues who can still be ridden. Clients calculated that 14 lots of tack had been taken with a value of around £5,000.

“There were random bits of bridles, headcollars and riding hats gone — including donkey brides for the retired donkeys we have who used to give beach rides,” Hayley said.

“There were tatty old headcollars taken that couldn’t have been worth more than £1 but they belonged to old horses of ours who have died and they had sentimental value.

“They only left a few bits behind and we aren’t keeping them on site any more,” she added.

The centre has since had some items of tack donated but has also set up a JustGiving page which has so far raised £1,280.

“People have been brilliant, we have a saddle fitter who has given time for free to come out and fit saddles that have been donated — we’ll hopefully be able to use some of them but what we can’t find we will have to buy, as it’s unlikely that we have a saddle perfect for each horse,” Hayley said.

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“We’re not a registered charity, so we have to go out and fundraise for everything.”

Most of the stolen tack was cob or full and included a 17.5” interchangeable gullet saddle, a black 16.5” Wintec and a Pony Club Thorowgood.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police confirmed that the force were called to a burglary of a business in Crickwillow Road, and that officers were investigating.

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