Farmers attacked and rifles stolen in farm raid

Police are hunting armed raiders who attacked a couple with a crowbar at a Leicestershire farm.
David Clarke, 70, and his wife Sandra, 68, were violently attacked by three men wearing balaclavas during the robbery.

The couple were also attacked with a machete and a screwdriver and Mrs Clarke was tied to a chair.

Ten rifles and five shotguns, worth around £150,000, were stolen by the intruders. One Purdey gun was worth around £70,000 in a pair.

Cash and two vehicles – a Range Rover and a Defender – were also stolen.

The robbery was featured on BBC Crimewatch on Thursday (15 December). A £5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction.

Recalling the terrifying ordeal, Mr Clarke told the programme he was watching the television when the masked men burst into his farmhouse and attacked him.

“I was watching the man holding a machete when I was hit in the face with a crowbar,” he said.

“It knocked my teeth out and that was the end of it then. I went down in a hail of blows from the cricket bat and the machete.”  

The raiders broke into the couple’s gun cabinet and took the firearms. One of the attackers threatened to shoot Mr Clarke with his own gun.

“They certainly are my pride and joy and to see them being handled so roughly, it horrified me,” he said.

“He threatened to blow my head off with one of the guns if I did not tell him where the safe was.”

Leicestershire Police are linking the crime to two burglaries. One of two cars stolen in a burglary in Leicester was found to contain items stolen from the farm near Countesthorpe, on 8 September. Both cars were later recovered from the Braunstone area.

Det Con Tim Smith said: “This has been an incredibly distressing incident for both the victims and we are keen to hear from members of the public who may be able to help us with our enquiries and catch those responsible.

“From enquiries we’ve conducted we are also linking this incident with two burglaries which occurred in Leicester where a BMW and an Audi car was stolen from two separate addresses after the keys were stolen from the property.”

All three suspects were wearing balaclavas and had hoods up and one of them was stockier and shorter than the other two, Det Con Smith added.

“There is a strong possibility the offenders will try and sell on the firearms so we are contacting all firearms dealers across the city and county to make them aware of the incident.”

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