British charity Redwings has been targeted by thieves, who stole two pieces of equipment vital to the running of one of its nine centres.
The thieves made off with a Massey Ferguson compact tractor and a John Deere gator from its Caldecott Visitor Centre, near Great Yarmouth.
The vehicles were kept in a barn near the donkey facility, which houses more than 30 donkeys and mules.
“We can’t believe anyone would do this,” charity chief executive Lynn Cutress said.
“They destroyed a line of our fencing in the process and if we hadn’t fitted a second line around the field to protect the donkeys they could have been in serious danger on the nearby road.
“Those vehicles were quite old, but they were vital to help the team who care for our special rescued residents – with so many horses to care for on the site it has to run like a small farm.
“The tractor and gator were used for all kinds of tasks, from checking and feeding the horses, to clearing the fields of muck and preparing the land. They may have been old but they were really valuable to us,” Cuttress said.
The centre’s night security team estimate the vehicles were removed between 1.30am and 5am last Wednesday (the night of January 14).
The thieves broke through a perimeter line of wooden post-and-rail fencing to remove the equipment, which was worth more than £6000.
The Caldecott centre is currently closed to the public until the end of March.
The Caldecott operation is home to 114 of its 1300 rescued horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
Anyone with any information can contact Constable Sally Anderson at Norfolk Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, quoting crime reference number CR2352/1414.