05:00PM, Thursday 29 October 2020
Landowners and club owners along Oakley Green Road have been hit with a spate of equipment thefts for the third time this year.
There have been break-ins at Fifield Polo Club, Braywood Cricket Club, Clevelands Stud Farm, Gadbridge Farm, Pintofields Farm and the Windsor Horse Rangers charity – all in the last month.
Clevelands and the cricket club were targeted on the night of October 9-10. Windsor Horse Rangers was hit last week, and Fifield Polo Club has been hit both times.
The polo club lost two quadbikes in the first break-in but was able to chase the trespassers off the property on the second occasion.
Windsor Horse Rangers lost a quad bike and trailer, which have fortunately since been found in a quarry in Surrey. They are now in the process of being brought home.
The thieves also attempted to break in to the tack room, containing horse riding equipment – which would have been ‘a complete disaster’, according to Karen Meade of Windsor Horse Rangers.
“They’ve got to be fitted to each individual horse, so it would have been weeks before we could get the children back riding again,” she said.
David Luff, owner of Clevelands, is convinced that it is the same group of people travelling between every property – and, moreover, the same individuals committing every break-in this year.
“We’ve got CCTV footage clearly showing the same three men that came in January,” said Mr Luff.
“There’s an obvious pattern. They did everything exactly the same way – they came in the same way, then they drove away across the cricket pitch.”
CCTV showed that the thieves were driving a white Subaru with a wheel on its back.
After the January break-in, forensic experts came and took a cast of the tyre print the thieves left behind – but the affected owners heard little more from them.
“To be brutally honest I think the police have been very slack on this. I’m not happy,” said Mr Luff.
Though all the properties have spent the last few weeks beefing up their security, Mr Luff is concerned it will not be enough to deter these particular thieves.
“This is a professional job. They don’t even care about being caught on CCTV,” said Mr Luff. “It’s unbelievable. They’ve got more front than Woolworths.
“You can’t do anything to keep these people out – they’ll dissemble a garage before they’ll walk away empty handed.”
Investigations into the separate crimes are ongoing and no arrests have yet been made.
There will be displays at Windsor Racecourse and Legoland, local fireworks in Burnham and Twyford and smaller displays at schools in the Royal Borough.