Horror as dogs ‘walloped with pickaxe’ in break-in

Gavin Reading with two of his dogs
Gavin Reading with two of his dogs

A family has spoken of their horror after burglars broke into their home and ‘walloped their dogs with a pickaxe handle’.

Mandi Robertson and her partner Gavin Reading said thieves forced open the back door of their home in Broadwater Lane, Copsale.

The couple’s four dogs were inside the house at the time along with their daughter’s dog who was upstairs.

Gavin said a pickaxe was taken from the garden and when they got back two of the dogs were outside. Their daughter’s dog was locked in a downstairs bathroom.

Mandi said: “Whomever did this, did not count on there being loose dogs and they used a pickaxe handle to wallop the dogs and scare them.

“Thande, our old girl, survived a stroke two weeks ago and when Gavin returned to the house she was hiding down behind the sheds and was clearly very upset.”

Gavin added: “They used it to usher the dogs out of the house.”

He added when they inspected the dogs that evening a couple were ‘tender in some areas’.

Thieves then searched the property and stolen several valuable items.

Mandi said: “They took items from me that can never be replaced including a pair of earrings which were the last thing my dad gave me before he sadly passed away after a short fight with cancer, just three years ago.

“A lot of jewellery was taken including a bracelet with a Kruger Rand mounted on the top and a unusual large pearl ring which belonged to my mum.”

Her engagement ring, given to her by Gavin, was also taken along with a bracelet passed down through many generations in the family.

She added: “Gavin lost several tools out of the shed including a very new chainsaw and a high quality and rather new drill.”

Mandi was born in Horsham but grew up in Cape Town in South Africa.

She said she had dealt with violence on a regular basis but was now terrified about being alone at the house.

She said: “I feel nervous about being at the house alone now.

“I didn’t sleep very much the first week after the burglary which was exceptionally hard since I work such very long hours and I keep sitting up at night to look out into the garden to ensure there is nobody lurking around.

“I keep having bad dreams about coming home and finding the dogs dead.

“The whole incident was just so sad.”

Police are investigating the incident which was reported on March 20.

A spokesman said: “Various pieces of jewellery were among the items stolen, including a platinum and diamond engagement ring and a solid silver Queens Silver Jubilee pendant.

“The investigation is ongoing and anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anyone acting suspiciously is asked to call Sussex Police on 101 quoting serial 990 of 20/03.”

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