THE chairman of a riding club on the outskirts of Hucknall has spoken of her shock after arsonists broke in and set fire to thousands of pounds worth of showjumping equipment.
Youths broke into Warren Riding Club, next to Annesley Woods, on Wednesday August10 at around 1.50 pm and torched a container holding valuable showjumping kit used by the club to stage events throughout the year.
The blaze damaged handy pony gear, including timing equipment and gateposts, and an office used by a competition judge to officiate events.
Club chairman Judith Dawson-Payne said she was appalled by the attack and believes the arsonists may have been spurred on by television coverage of rioting across England last week.
“It is just so pointless, they have broken in and obviously decided that there is nothing worth stealing but they have just set fire to it anyway,” she said.
“It is terrible, all the equipment is completely destroyed and all it is doing is destroying young children’s enjoyment of the club.
“In the 12 years that I have been here, we have never had insurance for the site because we did not live here so we will have to borrow equipment before our next event.
“Firefighters told me that the children may have seen the riots on the television and wanted to copy it.
“Because the site is so close to the woods, they have probably set fire to it and then watched it burn from the woodlands.”
The Warren Riding Club has been open for 45 years and hosts shows during the showjumping season.
“Our next show is on Tuesday August 30 and it will go ahead as we are able to borrow equipment from another club,” added Judith. “We also know another club which is closing so we may also be able to buy equipment off them.”
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the police on 0300 3009999 or the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.