PARKGATE Pony Sanctuary is appealing for help after being hit by a devastating combination of thefts, bad weather, vets bills and the credit crunch.
Owners of the the much-loved charity, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, say they are struggling after donations slumped over Christmas, a time when wellwishers usually give generously.
In December thieves broke into a lock-up and stole maintenance equipment worth £5,000.
And since the icy weather took hold water pipes at the sanctuary have frozen, leaving volunteers battling to find enough water for horses to drink.
Running the sanctuary, which was set up to rescue horses and ponies which no-one else could look after, costs £20,000 a year.
Richard Bamford, who runs the sanctuary with wife Corinne, said: “It really is difficult. We’re pretty desperate at the moment.
“We had a major break-in before Christmas and they took generators, strimmers, chainsaws and other maintenance equipment.
“Lots of small tools like hammers were also taken so we haven’t got much left.
“We’ll have to buy replacements but only when we can afford it.
“The most important thing is to buy feed for the horses.”