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Churchouse Rd - first theft, now fire

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013
Churchouse Rd

SUSPICIOUS BLAZE: All that remains of Riding for the Disabled’s equipment shed and water tank in Churchouse Rd, Greenhithe.

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A spate of incidents at Greenhithe's Churchouse Rd paddocks, involving equipment tampering and thefts has taken a turn for the worse with a suspicious fire.

Firefighters called-out in the early hours of November 21, could not save Riding for the Disabled's equipment shed, which was consumed by flames by the time two fire engines arrived.

Gareth Wallace, Chief Fire Officer for Greenhithe Volunteer Fire Brigade, says they quickly had the fire under control despite difficult access.

Kim Fischer from Riding for the Disabled North Shore says she is " really disappointed with what's happened, it's been a big loss for us, it's going to cost quite a lot to replace."

The hay shed fire melted a water tank the club irrigates its paddocks with and there is no hay for the horses, she says.

Luckily the group which gives the disabled safe opportunities to ride horses has insurance. Fire Service investigator Linda McHugh says the cause of the fire remains unconfirmed but she is in contact with police about the matter.

Apart from a couple of "minor things" the charity has had no problems with intruders, says Ms Fischer.

But another organisation just a couple of fences over in the large block of paddocks has been hit by burglars and an arsonist.

Greenhithe Pony Club president Carrie Wallace says the club has had a number of incidents in the last two years, leaving people scared for their pet ponies.

In 2011, someone tried to set fire to a horse cover. In July 2013 this year an intruder left gates and shed doors open and loosened the wheels on a horse float.

Then in mid-October 2013, saddles and feed supplements worth over $10,000 were stolen overnight from one of the pony club's sheds.

During the break-in one horse had its coat stolen right off it's back and suffered cuts to its legs.

Meanwhile, the Greenhithe community is rallying behind efforts to support fundraising efforts for Riding for the Disabled.

Local realtors Harcourts, who have organised the Greenhithe Santa Parade will donate all proceeds to Riding for the Disabled.

"We're really impressed about how Harcourts have come to the party," says Ms Fischer.

Community Constable for Greenhithe, Troy Williamson says anyone with information should call North Shore Police on 477 5000 or CrimeStoppers 0800 555 111.

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- North Shore Times

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