POWER tools worth £8,000 were stolen in a burglary in Cirencester, and there has been a spate of similar offences where traders’ premises were targeted.
Thieves rammed open gates at Cotswold Estates and Gardening in Baunton before stealing 26 tools including stone cutters, chain saws, leaf-blowers and hedge trimmers.
This raid in the early hours of Friday, January 24, one of three in the Cirencester area overnight.
In the other two – one in Quenington and one in Stroud Road – the offenders were disturbed while trying to enter properties where tools are stored.
Joe Watson, the owner of landscaping company Cotswold Estates and Gardening, said the thieves acted ‘professionally’ having watched CCTV of the incident.
“They cut through two padlocks then rammed the gate,” Joe said. “They clearly knew what they were doing, they rammed in reverse to avoid damaging important parts of the vehicle like the engine. “One vehicle waited out the front whilst the second vehicle rammed into the shutters.
“It was like they had a timer, once four minutes was up they were gone.
“The cost to replace the machines is around £9,000 and damage caused to the gates and the shutters is around £4,000, but thankfully our insurance covers that.
“It has, though, caused so much disruption. We have had to change some jobs because we don’t currently have the equipment.”
Joe has a list of all the serial numbers of the equipment stolen, and says vigilant buyers could help track the offenders down.
“All the equipment was Stihl machinery,” Joe added. “If people see Stihl equipment being sold cheap, check the serial number and contact us so we can check it against our list. We want these people stopped.”
There was another burglary on January 29 in nearby Berkeley where thieves used a vehicle to force open a set of metal doors at TCS Country Supplies after cutting a padlock to get into the site. They stole a number of Stihl chainsaws and leaf-blowers as well as other tools.
Police were called after an alarm was activated but the offenders fled.
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said: “Officers are considering links between all four incidents and have warned businesses with similar assets to review their security.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incidents 34 of January 29, 516 of January 23, 3 and 13 of January 24.”