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Thieves steal tools and release animals from pens in Ash near Sandwich

Police are investigating after thieves stole tools and released a donkey and other animals from their pens beside a busy road.

Sandwich couple Charity, 34, and Steve Weatherall, 38, keep their donkey Friday and other animals, including chickens, cockerels, ducks and geese, in the field off the Ash bypass.

Last Tuesday, between 10pm and 10.30am the next day, it was targeted.

Charity Weatherall with her donkey Friday
Charity Weatherall with her donkey Friday

The culprits ransacked sheds, a storage unit and a static caravan, getting away with a Stihl chainsaw and an Echo long reach hedge cutter.

A pair of ornamental metal pheasants were taken too.

They also broke a padlock and ripped off the doors to the chickens’ houses releasing about 25 of them including newly-hatched chicks.

Mrs Weatherall, who works at Wyevale Garden Centre in Ramsgate, has urged others to stay vigilant and said: “I went down to feed the animals on Wednesday morning and found it all.

“I had this real sinking feeling and then I felt angry that someone had taken our stuff. Stuff that we have worked really hard to get.”

The mum-of-one was also very upset at the distress the incident had caused the animals, particularly Friday, a previously neglected donkey which she rehomed in April 2015.

She said: “Friday was loose and very stressed. She came straight to me but it took three days for her to eat properly and fully settle down again.

“I was really worried about her for a couple of hours but she settled enough for me to not call the vet.

“We spent most of the day there so I think that reassured her.”

The couple have since moved all of their tools and equipment.

They hope someone might know something or come across the items, especially as the chainsaw and hedge cutter have identifying marks on them.

Friday, a previously neglected donkey, was rehomed with Charity in April 2015
Friday, a previously neglected donkey, was rehomed with Charity in April 2015

Mrs Weatherall said: “We just don’t know why we were targeted.

“Possibly someone was driving past and saw Steve using the equipment and thought there’s a chance of it being stored down here.

“They were very picky. They looked through all of our tools and equipment, but only took the three items.”

They are urging anyone who saw anything to get in touch with police.

Police press officer Sally Smith said: “We are investigating an act of criminal damage reported to have occurred on the Ash bypass, Sandwich Road, Ash, between 9.45pm on July 26 and 10.30am on July 27.

“A padlock valued at £25 was damaged. Several chicken houses had the doors ripped off meaning the chickens escaped.

“Later it was reported that a pair of metal pheasants had been stolen. Inquiries are ongoing.”

If you can help police, call 101 and reference ZY/025548/16

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