Police probe stable arson attack

The scene of the fire
The scene of the fire

A DESPERATE appeal for information has been launched by a horse-owning cancer patient whose stables were burnt to the ground by arsonists.

Gaynor France was left devastated on Sunday morning when she was awoken by her neighbour to be told they were ablaze on the field on Ley Road, Astley.

The 52-year-old, who is recovering from a throat tumour, raced from her home in nearby Sherwood Avenue to find the stables in flames. Fortunately her two horses were out in the field at the time.

However, to make matters worse, Ms France was left a sinister note yesterday on the gates of the field stating: “The horses are next”.

“I was absolutely in pieces when I found the note,” said Ms France. “It’s a direct threat against me. The whole thing it’s absolutely awful. It’s everything that I’ve built, it wasn’t just stables there was everything inside.

“It was also the hay shed which was about 30ft away from the stables which is why the fire service presumed it was deliberate and going off this note now it definitely was deliberate.

“I was hoping that it was just random people who set fire to things but obviously not now, it looks targeted. I’m really worried now with them threatening to kill the horses.”

Miss France, who lives with her 11-year-old son, says she has no idea who could have carried out such a malicious act.

The last couple of years of her life have been dominated by trying to recover from her illness.

She added: “I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s somebody who wants the land. They could be trying to scare me off. I don’t know though, my mind is working overtime.

“I’ve not fallen out with anyone really, I spent all last year battling cancer. I’ve only just got back on my feet after that.

“I’m still visiting The Christie for treatment but I’m on the best side now, I’ve finished my chemotherapy and radiotherapy last April.

“But because I’ve had major surgery to my neck and shoulder and had muscle removed, I struggle and it’s one of the reasons I left a lot of my stuff in the stable because I couldn’t lift it.

“I’d left my saddle, bridle and a lot of my personal belongings. I was more worried about them being stolen, I never thought this could happen.”

Police are now appealing for information. A spokesman said: “Offenders gained access and set fire to three stables and a trailer. There’s been thousands of pounds of damage. We’re also looking into a note saying ‘the horses are next’.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.