Horse Raiders: Thieving showjumpers narrowly avoid jail
Kieran Quinn Jamie Aston took specialist saddles, stirrups and boots.
Manchester Crown Court was told they even drove hundreds of miles at night to break into lockers in stables.
Quinn texted his partner Aston at 4.54am during an international horse show at Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire: “Take what you have. People are starting to wake up.”
The thefts were exposed when victims found their tack for sale online and police used phone mast data to place the pair at the crime scenes.
Quinn – who won Search for a Star at 2015’s Horse of the Year show – and Aston admitted theft and handling stolen goods.
Aston, 32, was given an 18-month suspended sentence and 120 hours of unpaid work. Welding inspector Quinn, 36, was handed a 14-month suspended sentence plus 100 hours of unpaid work.
Their haul was worth £51,009 and the pair, of Blaengwynfi, South Wales face a Proceeds of Crime hearing.
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Judge Recorder Eric Lamb told them: “You are each experienced in the equestrian world and these were mean-spirited offences.
“What you did has had an impact upon the friendly community of those involved in the horse world.” The thefts took place at a dressage event at Weston Lawns showground in Warwickshire, at the Bolesworth International and at Cricklands summer show at the David Broome Event Centre in Monmouthshire, all in 2022.
Paulinus Barnes, prosecuting, had told the court: “Isabelle George had gone to the event at Weston Lawns. Her tack was stored in a metal locker in the stables area. She discovered that her metal locker had been broken into and items stolen.
“Over the weeks that followed she became aware of items being sold on Facebook pages associated with showjumping, suspiciously similar to the items that had been stolen.
“The sellers were Quinn and Aston.During an international horse show at Bolesworth Castle, four of those taking part – riders Madeleine Gervais, Bryony Holloway, Scarlett Ward and Madison McCrory – had items of tack stolen overnight including saddles, bridles, boots and helmets.”
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Mr Barnes added: “Security staff were later to find some disturbance to the perimeter fence. Then at the David Broome Event centre near Chepstow, Natassia Purnell had a number of items of equipment stolen from her locker, including saddles, stirrups, boots and girths.”
The court heard that Ms Purnell – who was attending the event with her son aged five – lost £7,567 worth of kit and had to put one of her two horses up for sale as she could not ride him.
She said: “I was devastated. My son was unable to ride in his class and the entire weekend, which we had spent months preparing for, was ruined.
“He was very upset, and we all felt violated. They have ruined peoples dreams through their own greed.”
Police raided the men’s home and recovered more than 20 items.
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