Thieves steal disabled riding group’s equipment

Malcolm Pickard at the riding school at East Keswick...robbery story
Malcolm Pickard at the riding school at East Keswick...robbery story

DISABLED horse riders have been left heartbroken after burglars stole £20,000 of equipment from a charity in East Keswick.

Sessions run by Riding for the Disabled have had to be scrapped after saddles, bridles, rugs and other tack were taken in the overnight raid.

Trustee Malcolm Pickard, who is in charge of pony welfare at the charity, said: “How people can do this to disabled kids is beyond belief.

“For some of them, this is the one piece of enjoyment they have in a week. They’ll be heartbroken.”

It is believed the charity, based at East Keswick, was targeted between 11.30pm and shortly after midnight last Friday.

The tack room was broken into and the alarm was disabled.

Mr Pickard added: “They prised the bolt open and smashed the locks.

“We’ve got a 20ft steel container and a steel cage - they smashed both of those.

“There was also a steel box with a double lock. That was smashed too.”

He added: “We won’t be able to ride for at least a fortnight. We have to replace the tack and that will depend on insurance.”

Wenda Fletcher, whose disabled daughter Joanne Watson, 35, rides at the charity, said: “To think that while most people were enjoying the Olympic ceremony, some scumbags were doing this is sickening.

“I was gutted to have to tell my daughter that she won’t be able to ride this weekend.”

Most of the items were marked with the initials RDA. The thieves are thought to have used a green 4x4 vehicle.

Insp Paul Dwyer, of Wetherby and Harewood neighbourhood policing team, described the crime as despicable.

He said: “This incident will affect the excellent and valuable work carried out by this group.

“It would have been very quiet in the area at the time and I would ask anyone who saw anything suspicious or may have been offered any riding equipment for sale to come forward.

“This was a despicable crime and I want to see those responsible brought before the courts.”

Anyone with information should contact the NPT via 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.