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‘A kick in the teeth’: riding centre forced to close after £20,000 break-in

PUBLISHED: 10:52 23 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:29 23 August 2020

Thieves stole £20,000 worth of equipment from Hill Farm Riding Centre. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/sergio_kumer

Thieves stole £20,000 worth of equipment from Hill Farm Riding Centre. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/sergio_kumer

Getty Images/iStockphoto/sergio_kumer

A riding centre has been forced to close for the foreseeable future after £20,000-worth of goods were stolen in a “devastating and heartless” break-in.

Thieves stole £20,000 worth of equipment from Hill Farm Riding Centre. Picture: GoogleThieves stole £20,000 worth of equipment from Hill Farm Riding Centre. Picture: Google

Thieves broke into Hill Farm Riding Centre, in Hardingham, and stole thousands of pounds-worth of horse tack overnight on Friday.

They smashed through doors on two separate buildings in order to break in and left the family-run centre, which was opened more than 10 years ago, in “complete disarray”.

As a result, owner Maxine Moulding has cancelled all horse riding classes for the coming weeks and said she had “no idea” when the centre would be able to reopen.

She said it had come as “another blow” for the business, which had only reopened in June following the outbreak of coronavirus.

Ms Moulding said: “We were only just above water due to coronavirus and just had enough money to keep the horses going.

“Since reopening after lockdown, up to 80 riders a week have been using the centre. To lose that instant income as well as the value of the goods is a big kick in the teeth.

“It has just stopped our business straight away. I’ve also had to spend the morning contacting people who were due to ride today. They said they were all devastated and feel sorry for us.”

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It has also affected the employment of one staff member, the horse riding instructor, who is now unable to work.

Ms Moulding said: “I’m gutted that we can’t do our jobs. It has been a hard year already due to Covid-19 and now we have been hit by this.”

The theft was spotted by a member of staff on Saturday morning and Ms Moulding said she felt “angry and upset” when she heard the news.

She said she believed the thieves had been monitoring the centre as they knew the location of the CCTV camera and flipped it out of view.

Ms Moulding added: “All I can say is that people who have done it can’t be very nice at all, particularly as there is an ongoing pandemic.”

“We have been here for 10-and-a-half years and nothing like this has happened before. We thought we were safe here and would have never dreamt for this to happen.”


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