Ponies flee flames after another attack on horse sanctuary in Norwich

Fire at Little Tinkers Horse Sanctuary.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Fire at Little Tinkers Horse Sanctuary.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A police investigation is underway after ponies and donkeys fled their barns to escape a fire.

In the latest attack on Tinkers Horse Sanctuary, in Bluebell Road, the buildings were ransacked and set on fire on Friday night.

The sanctuary that cares for 36 old and sick animals has been targeted by thieves six times in the last seven months.

In the aftermath of the flames, Julie Bassett, 49, the owner, estimates there is more than £40,000 worth of damage.

The side of the new barn has been left in ashes and tractors burnt out.

Now, the future of the haven for animals is unclear.

Fundraising campaign to help Tinkers Horse Sanctuary

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She said: 'It is just 16 years of hard work gone and now I have to think of the ponies' safety, it started with them stealing buckets and rugs and now they have burnt the place down, what will they do next?

'I don't know if I can go on, but all of the ponies and donkeys are old or sick, so people won't want them, if I can't do it they might have to be put down.'

The fire service were called at around 9.55pm by a passer-by who spotted the flames and again a few minutes later by someone who could smell smoke.

All of the city's fire engines were at the scene putting out the flames in a matter of minutes.

Firefighters from Sprowston, Earlham and Carrow used main jets and a hydrant.

Mrs Bassett, added: 'The ponies are lucky to have gotten away and hidden at the end of the field, it was started in the tractor shed, they must have dropped a match in one of the petrol tanks.

'It is just horrendous, it is really upsetting, I just don't know where to go from here, what do you do when someone just sets fire to it all.'

Little Tinkers Horse Sanctuary has just recovered from a break-in on Friday, January 8, after its barns were damaged and equipment stolen worth thousands of pounds.

People rallied and donations – both financial and equipment – flooded in.

- If you think you can help Tinkers Horse Sanctuary to continue, contact Julie Bassett on littletinkers1@aol.com

- If you have a news story about a local organisation, email jemma.walker@archant.co.uk

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