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21 September 2016, 07:37 | Updated: 21 September 2016, 07:39
Owners of a rescue stables at Stanmer Park in Brighton say they have been left devastated after bailiffs moved in overnight and took away all 38 of their horses.
Long Barn Farm at Stanmer Park has been running for three and a half years, caring for horses that had been mistreated. Local people have been allowed to see, stroke and ride the animals.
Phillipa Davis' 5 year old son Ty (pictured) has autism, she says she cannot bring herself to tell him his pony has gone. ''We've being going to Long Barn for around 18 months now. Danny had the perfect pony for us who was RDA trained. It has made a big difference to Ty and we've had so much progress. I'm absolutely devastated and in shock. We're worried for the horses many of which are on medication and special feeds. How can I tell Ty his pony isn't there any more?''
Owner Danny Cross says ''A few of the horses I have owned for around 20 years, many of the others have been rescued or bought out of cruel conditions for nominal amounts and some of the others were born to my mares (as they were often rescued while in foal).
I am neither a business nor a charity & everything has been self-funded, or from donations or taking part in community events at Stanmer Park, such as providing children's pony rides. I have 38 horses in total ranging from full size horses to mini-shetlands. A few of these have long term health issues, but these have been cared and live a happy life.
A letter was received from Brighton Council dated 5th June 2015 requiring possession of the premises 'Forthwith'. Since that time I have been looking for alternative premises, but due partly to the number of horses this has not proved possible...''
The council sent Heart this statement
"The main reason for ending Mr Cross's lease is because he has accrued rent arrears and has not managed the stable yard in accordance with his tenancy agreement. Regrettably, attempts by the council to engage with Mr Cross to resolve the issues have been unsuccessful".
Owners say they have been told they have until Friday to pay £5000 per horse to get them back - or they will be rehomed or put down.