Vandals set horses loose

  • A riding school in Wiltshire has been targeted by vandals who deliberately allowed horses to escape

    The Grovely Riding Centre in Wilton, Salisbury, is appealing for locals to be extra vigilant following a spate of incidents where horses have been deliberately released from their stables and fields.

    In the past three months, owner Gerry Dunnes has been subjected to numerous incidents where gates, stable doors and fencing have been tampered with.

    “It is really worrying,” she said. “Children don’t fully understand the implication of their actions. While I don’t think they’re intentions are malicious, we have already had one horse injured.”

    The centre has around 90 horses, which include school horses as well as liveries and competition horses. One horse was on box rest when it was turned loose into the yard.

    In one of the worst recent incidents, vandals were responsible for unlocking a gate and allowing 19 horses to escape into nearby woods. They have also been responsible for acts of minor vandalism, including damaging the centre’s show jumps.

    Gerry Dunnes, who lives next door to the riding centre, is becoming increasingly concerned as the centre is close to the A30 a busy dual carriageway.

    “The vandals always seems to happen around the same time at about 9 or 10pm and it’s always worse in June and July,” she said “I hateto think of the consequences of a driver hitting one horse, let alone 19 – especially at twilight.”

    In an attempt to deter the vandals Gerry has replaced all the gates and fencing.

    “Everytime I hear someone outside, I wonder what they are up to. Now I am seriously considering have CCTV cameras fitted.”

    PC Simon Davies from Salisbury said: “We are aware of a problem in this area and are trying to indentify those responsible. It is possible that the perpetrators are teenagers.”

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