Village shock as rocking horse Pete stolen from pre-school in Debenham

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The leader of a Suffolk pre-school has called thieves “heartless” after a rocking horse was stolen from its premises.

The horse, named ‘Pete the Painted Pony’, was stolen from outside Debenham Roundabout Pre-school on School Corner, between 6am on Friday, April 17 and 9am on Monday, April 20.

Pete had been part of the roundabout for 20 years, and had been recently renovated by a family as a leaving gift after their son moved up to primary school.

Jane Jordan, who helped renovate Pete said much love and attention went into the makeover.

She added: “We turned him from boring, brown, tatty nag into a smart painted pony who is unique and very much loved by all the children and staff.

“Due to many years of play, he was a bit rickety with a few ‘health and safety’ issues so my partner Brian Cox rebuilt his rocking mechanism, replaced the treads and renewed his saddle.

“Myself, our daughter Polly, 11, son Leo, five, and our niece Heather sanded him smooth, repainted him and gave him a new mane, tail and head collar.

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“We are all very angry someone has stolen him. Both of our children are very upset and angry and many tears were shed when we told them he had been taken.

“Nothing else was taken, just the horse which leads us to believe that who ever took him, knew he was there!

“Thieving from the children is just the lowest, most despicable thing – it is a sad reflection of society.”

Pre-school leader Fiona Norris said it was originally thought a committee member may have moved Pete, but by Monday evening when no one had knowledge of its movements that it had been taken.

She added: “The horse was so loved by all the children and he was such an important part of our pre-school.

“He has been at our pre-school longer than me and I’ve been leader for 19 years – many people who live in Debenham remember him fondly from their own days at roundabout or their children’s pre-school days.

“We are all so very sad and angry that someone could be so heartless to steal from a charity that looks after young children. Please let us know if you see a horse like ours advertised anywhere. Let’s hope he can be found soon.”

A police spokeswoman said it is thought at least two people and a vehicle may have been needed to remove the horse.

Anyone with information is asked to call Pc Barry Abbott from Stowmarket safer neighbourhood team on 101 quoting crime reference number ST/15/1223.