A hand-crafted donation box has been broken into and the contents stolen at the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust.

The car park donation box collects funds for the ponies hay, and the box itself was built by volunteers at the charity.

A spokesman for the Trust said they were “extremely saddened” by the news.

“The goodwill car park donation box is built into a beautiful cairn, loving crafted by our volunteers,” they said.

“It has been broken into, the money taken and the lock destroyed. The money donated pays for our hay.

“We are now going to incur additional cost to dismantle the cairn and replace the box with a much stronger version.

“This is a first for the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, but at a time where funds are very tight and all donations are crucial.”

The charity is now calling for the assistance of any skilled volunteers who could help them find a suitable replacement.

There is a QR Code sited on the gate of the car park, where members of the public can donate funds online, but “very few” visitors use that method and to install a machine would be too costly for the charity.

The charity works to ensure a future for the native Dartmoor pony while inspiring and connecting people with Dartmoor’s wildlife, landscape and heritage.

“Without your invaluable help we couldn’t protect the future of the beautiful Dartmoor Pony for future generations,” said a charity spokesman.

“Thanks to your generosity we work tirelessly to create awareness, build exciting opportunities for engagement and educate people about these hardy intelligent creatures who call Dartmoor their home.”

To support the charity by donating, visit https://dpht.co.uk/donate

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