'Save John Nuttall's donkeys' appeal is launched after devastating burglary

An appeal has been launched to save John Nuttall's donkeys after the owner of an attraction that has brought joy to generations of children was robbed.

John Nuttall is the third generation of a family giving donkey rides to children on Skegness beach.

John Nuttall - whose has 90 donkeys in Skegness, Mablethorpe and Cleethorpes - took to social media to announce the shocking news that burglars had entered his property and stolen 'every penny' he had overnight on Thursday, August 19.

Now facing having to sell his donkeys after the season because he is uninsured, he said: "Thieves entered my property and stole every penny I had, my fathers inheritance and both my sisters' inheritance and a full seasons takings.

"I am devastated, I don’t know how to carry on to be able to keep all my animals in the custom they are used to. I don’t know how to carry on.

"Please if anyone has seen anything on that date on walls Lane, Ingoldmells or has been offered jewellery or some one buying stuff with cash, please notify Skegness police.

"Sorry if I don’t answer comments but I’m to much ripped apart.

"Once the rest of the season has finished I will have a lot of good working donkeys needing a new home."

It has been a tough couple of years for the popular business which runs off Tower Esplanade near the Lifeboat Station.

A gofundme page was launched after the third generation tenant in East Lindsey had expressed his shock on social media that he had received invoices from the local authorities in East Lindsey and North East Lincolnshire before he was able to start working because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

At the time, Mr Nuttall explained the problem had been exacerbated because there had been no rain for the grass where the donkeys are kept and their feed was having to be supplemented with haylage, which had to be bought in.

However, following support from the local authorities and donations including a gofundme appeal to save the donkeys, launched by supporter Sue Victor, from Nottingham, which smashed its target of £1,000 within days, he was able to carry his business on when visitors were allowed to return to the coast in July last year.

This year with the focus on staycations the future looked brighter and his donkeys had even appeared on Channel 5's Bargain-Loving Brits in the Sun.

But after the robbery Mr Nuttall told our newspaper he was considering giving up and moving away. "This is the final straw - I have lost everything and don't know how I can carry on," he said.

"I'm grateful to everyone offering support and to Chris Epton who runs the other donkeys along the coast who is helping where he can.

"However, the winter feed is in but that is a huge bill. In addition to that some of the comments on social media have been so cruel, saying it's karma for working the donkeys in the sun.

"We have put every measure in place to protect are care for the donkeys - it makes you just feel like giving up and moving away."

This time a GoFundMe appeal has been launched by Leah Cunningham . She said: "I'm fundraising on behalf of John Nuttal.

"If you have ever been to the seaside resort of Skegness, you will have come across John and his beloved donkeys he and his family have owned for many many years.

"If you haven't had the pleasure in person then maybe you have watched him recently on the Channel 5 programme Bargain Loving Brits'

"Anyway, long story short, John hasn't had it easy these last few years with losing close loved ones to a big fire on one of his donkey transport lorries to then being hit hard with the pandemic and having to struggle to keep him and the donkeys heads above water.

"It has been a very hard time but there was light at the end of the tunnel lock down ended and trade started coming back until John was left yet again with another devastating blow.

"In the early hours on the 19th of August 2021 thieves entered his property and stole every penny he has,.

As a result of this john is now having to face selling his beloved donkeys.

"Please help to save John's livelihood and your children's childhood memories."

To make a donation visit here

* Lincolnshire Police have confirmed officers were called to reports of a burglary at Nuttalls Donkeys in Skegness at 8.41am on August 19. The incident is believed to have happened at some point overnight, and a large sum of money and jewellery has been reported stolen. It is believed that power to the building was cut.

An investigation into what happened is ongoing, and police are appealing for anyone with information to call 101, quoting incident 76 of 19th August.

Read also