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Thieves take Pony Club jumps bought after a year’s fundraising

A Pony Club branch that fundraised more than £11,000 to buy a set of show jumps have has lost them all to thieves during the national lockdown.

The Warwickshire Hunt Pony Club’s distinctive set of Jump4Joy show jumps and a specially-designed flatbed trailer were taken from a yard near Ettington, Warwickshire on Tuesday night (21 April).

The jumps include some distinctive Bertie Basset wings, as well as a bespoke Warwickshire PC fence in the black and red colours of the local hunt, and were only bought last year.

“They were parked safely at one of the venues we use but the thieves must have got in across the fields somehow,” said district commissioner Debbie Okines, a retired carer who has been called back to duty during the pandemic.

“It’s another thing to deal with in these difficult times. It’s hard to think people could do something like this to a group of kids.”

The Pony Club’s parents had organised a series of fundraisers over a 12-month period to buy the fences, which had been popular with the children.

“It’s such a shame, Bertie was the most striking fence and the younger members thought he was brilliant,” Mrs Okines, said. “When the children go out and start competing they do come up against fancy fences now, so we decided it was worth investing in a new set.”

Although the fences are insured, Mrs Okines said she was unsure how long it will take to replace them once the lockdown is lifted.

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“If we were to find lockdown restrictions were eased and we could hold our summer camps at short notice then we’d probably have to borrow fences or use some old ones,” she said. “We have good parents in the club who I know would rally round and fundraise again if needs be.”

She added that she was relieved the loss had just been material and that no people or animals had been injured.

“There are horses on the site, so it’s good to know they weren’t affected,” she said. “As long as everyone is safe that’s the main thing.”

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