Awapuni Racing Centre 'buzzing' after stolen horse ambulance recovered

The ambulance was found "with a new lick of paint".
The ambulance was found "with a new lick of paint". Photo credit: Facebook / Awapuni Racing Centre

A horse ambulance stolen from the Awapuni Racing Centre earlier this week has been recovered, albeit a little worse for wear.

Workers at the racing centre expressed confusion after the vehicle was taken, saying "it's hard to imagine why someone would steal this valuable asset".

On Friday police confirmed the ambulance was found this morning between the Opiki turn-off and Shannon. 

Martin Burns, chair of the NZ Horse Ambulance Trust, said he was overjoyed it had been found. 

"Along with fellow trustees and others involved in the Trust, I was buzzing when I heard this morning that the police had recovered our ambulance," Burns told Newshub.

"We'd been gutted that a charity would be targeted by thieves, and give huge credit to the horse-loving public of Manawatu who responded with energy to our plea for sightings or other information through media and Facebook.  

"I'm convinced that this public awareness ultimately deterred the criminals in their hopes to profit from their deeds."

The racing club shared a photo of the ambulance on its Facebook page, noting it had been "recovered safe and sound...but with a new lick of paint".