Theft of valuable trailer is a ‘huge blow’ to children’s activity centre

ks170021-1 Cobnor Stolen phot kate Gary Palmer, centre, head of the centre at Cobnor with senior instructors Alex Evans, left, an Adam Priddle by the gate which was broken during the theft of their trailer.ks170021-1 SUS-170120-164309008
ks170021-1 Cobnor Stolen phot kate Gary Palmer, centre, head of the centre at Cobnor with senior instructors Alex Evans, left, an Adam Priddle by the gate which was broken during the theft of their trailer.ks170021-1 SUS-170120-164309008

A children’s charity has lost a valuable trailer to thieves who broke into its Chidham centre.

The theft from Cobnor Activity Centre Trust sometime between January 12 and January 16 follows a similar incident at a West Sussex family adventure park this month.

Head of the activity centre Gary Palmer said the trailer was ‘an integral part’ of the centre’s activities, and cost around £9,000 new.

He said: “It’s a huge blow to the charity trust, because we actually need something like that for all our schools, to deliver our product, at the end of the day.

“The tragic thing for us was, we took steps to secure it, it’s behind a metal gate which is locked, chained and padlocked, but it seems they had a mechanism for totally shattering the lock and chain and taking it away, because we only found small fragments of the lock.”

He asked that people ‘keep a look out’ for the trailer, and report to the police anyone trying to sell one cheaply.

If the trailer is not found, the trust will buy a new one to continue its work providing fun and educational outdoor activities for school groups.

But Mr Palmer said the cost of replacing the trailer would have to include investment in securing the equipment.

“If people are targeting charities now, and don’t have as strong morals as we hoped, we’re going to have to look to beef up our security,” he said.

He added: “We’re not going to let it knock us back, we’ve got a job to do.”

Police said the Ifor Williams trailer was stolen sometime between January 12 and 16.

The same brand of trailer was stolen from Fishers Farm Adventure Park in Wisborough Green near Horsham at around midnight on January 3.

Thieves cut through and removed a padlock on a gate before driving off with the 12-foot trailer, but were prevented from taking more equipment after a staff member chased after them.

A spokesperson for police said the two incidents have not been formally linked.

Anyone with information about the Chidham incident is asked to contact police by calling 101 or emailing 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk citing reference 568 of 16/01.

For information about the Wisborough Green incident, cite reference 684 of 04/01.