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Quad bike theft shocks disabled group

PUBLISHED: 20:15 20 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

VOLUNTEERS at a riding school for the disabled in Suffolk today spoke of their devastation and shock after their stables were robbed.

Thieves forced opened a shed door and stole a Honda quad bike from the Shelly centre for therapeutic riding, near Hadleigh, leaving them without a vital piece of equipment.

By GEORGINA JAMES

georgina.james@eveningstar.co.uk>

VOLUNTEERS at a riding school for the disabled in Suffolk today spoke of their devastation and shock after their stables were raided.

Thieves forced opened a shed door and stole a Honda quad bike from the Shelly centre for therapeutic riding, near Hadleigh, leaving them without a vital piece of equipment.

The stables has about 90 disabled riders pass through their centre each week and the theft has severely hampered the efficient running of the school.

Margaret Fowler, vice chairman of the Shelly centre, said: "It feels like an invasion of privacy.

"It's such a blow for us as a charity as it means we haven't got a vehicle to level out the arena which has to be kept smooth in order to ensure the safety of both the riders and horses.

"Volunteers are having to muck out the horses and do a lot of the physical work by hand which is very time consuming. It means they have less time to spend teaching."

The riding school is funded purely by donations and fund raising events and survives thanks to the 80 volunteers to help at the centre each week.

Mrs Fowler added: "The theft has made everyone here very cross and it has caused a real inconvenience."

The Honda quad-bike, which costs about £4,000, was stolen between 5pm on Sunday and 8am on Monday.

Lyn Bensusan stable manager, said: "People here work really hard to raise money and it makes me sick that a charity of all places was targeted.

"The cost of running the centre is about £40,000 per year and losing a piece of equipment such as the bike is a severe blow to us."

Police in Hadleigh would like to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time of the theft, or who may have seen any large vehicle or trailer in the vicinity of the stables to contact them immediately.

Anyone with information is asked to call Pc Wren on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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