A WILD west enthusiast has been left devastated after his ranch was raided and £3,500 of authentic items stolen.
Ged Parker, who runs Hartlepool’s Wild West Legends Re-Enactment Society, turned up to his site on the outskirts of town yesterday morning to find it had been ransacked.
Thieves had gone through all of his belongings and stolen much-loved authentic pieces, including saddles, bridles and clothes that he had imported from the USA.
They also made off with expensive tools, tried and failed to use a trailer to steal a vintage tractor and made a mess of the field off Dalton Back Lane where the group keep their horses.
Ged, who founded the society three years ago, called the thieves “mindless idiots” as they also left gates open for three horses to roam free – despite it being just yards from the A19 dual-carriageway.
The 44-year-old said: “What’s happened is bad enough, but it could have ended in a disaster. There was nothing stopping the horses wandering onto the A19 and that could have caused a fatal crash, no doubt about it.
“They also made a right mess of the saddlery and the workshop. The field is also a mess.”
“The items they took can’t be replaced. Most are unique.
“I am absolutely gutted. There has been so much hard work put into making this site happen.”
The society has more than 40 members who regularly visit their very own prairie town on the outskirts of Hartlepool.
It was set up by Ged and his friends to recreate life on the range and he hoped to use it to educate people about American history.
He also says it is a great love of his disabled wife Bev, 46, who uses a wheelchair due to brittle bones.
Ged, from the Rossmere area of town, added: “It’s not just for my enjoyment but other people’s as well. People like to come here and ride on authentic saddles and come down and see all the things we have.
“I’ve spent a small fortune but what they have taken is not worth anything to other people. They’re for Westerners or people who know about them. They’re living pieces of history that date back to the 1800s.
“We’re trying to do something for the community here, but these thieving people couldn’t give a care in the world about that.”
A Cleveland Police spokesman said officers were notified that there had been a break-in just after 10am yesterday and inquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Hartlepool Police on (01642) 302110 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.