Rifles taken in burglaries

Denise Benthan with her daughter Charlotte and horse Razzell
Denise Benthan with her daughter Charlotte and horse Razzell

AIR weapons were among a haul of goods taken in a spate of burglaries at various stables.

The BSA and Crossman Dusk air rifles were stolen during a £5,000 burglary at the Edenwell Equestrian Centre, in Castle Eden, on the outskirts of Hartlepool.

Bosses at the stables say they are “shattered and sick” as this is the second raid at the centre in three months.

The Hartlepool Mail reported in December that 19 expensive saddles worth a total of £20,000, along with a horse massage kit and expensive clippers, were taken from the stables.

No-one has ever been arrested for that incident and the goods have never been returned.

Now police are investigating following a break-in at the site which happened between 9pm on Tuesday this week and 8am the following day.

The items taken include three saddles, the two air rifles, two sets of golf clubs, individual golf clubs, waterproof clothing and a Mio Sat-Nav.

Denise Bentham, 44, who owns the centre, off the A181 near Wingate, with husband Colin, 43, said: “I’m pretty shattered and sick that I haven’t got my gear back.

“Whoever has done this is trying to put me out of business.

“They keep stealing stuff all the time and you don’t feel safe in your own property.”

Denise, who is mum to James, 16, and 13-year-old Charlotte, said the burglary was discovered when she realised breeze blocks had been removed from the tack room - as they had been in the last incident.

The suspects also managed to get past two Rottweiler guard dogs, as in the previous burglary.

She said the air rifles were low-grade weapons used for pest control and they had been hidden in the tack room.

The saddles include the Barnsby, Wintec and Crosby brands and the golf clubs were a set of the Ping G2 variety, as well as Callaway X22 clubs and individual clubs bearing the Cobra X-Speed brand.

Police are also investigating the theft of a Rhinegold child’s saddle and two old-English Saddles from stables at Lambs Close Farm, in Hutton Henry, which happened between 6pm on Tuesday, February 21 and 10.30am the next day, as well as a similar break-in at stables in Cold Hesledon, near Murton, on February 17.

PC Andrea Wearmouth, of Peterlee Police, said: “Obviously, the theft of the air weapons is a concern.

“We are stepping up patrols in these areas and are also working with the Farmwatch scheme.

“In each case entry to the premises was forced.

“The majority of items stolen are identifiable and I would urge anyone who thinks they have been offered any of them for sale, or has information regarding their whereabouts, or the people responsible, to contact us.”

l Any witnesses should call Durham Police on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.