Thieves who are thought to have cased out a builders merchants before making off with a £20,000 wagon and over £7,000 worth of material have been branded “scum”.
Within just two hours in the early hours of Monday morning they had bust open locked gates in the yard of Wilf Nobles at Ruswarp, chiselled a hole in a brick wall, smashed through breeze blocks, hot wired and loaded up a specialist wagon with three tonnes of lead and fled the scene.
Staff arrived for work just after 5am to find the aftermath of the raid which has been captured on the firm’s CCTV cameras.
John Noble, company boss, told the Gazette: “They were in here at 1.28am and it took them four minutes to steal the wagon. There is no shadow of a doubt that it has been well-planned.
“They took the wagon to take the lead and knew exactly where the lead was, what they were doing and where they were going.
“You could not have done it by chance. “
Mr Noble says it will take them months worth of extra work to make up for the financial loss, not to mention the disruption it has caused for everyday business.
He said: “You never, ever want it to happen.
“The big impact for us is that the wagon was supposed to be out on hire.
“We have let customers down because we haven’t got the wagon and have had to re-organise the whole day for two lads to do their jobs.
“There is a knock on effect and now we have to replace that wagon, which is specialist, and just does not happen overnight.
“It isn’t like a tin of beans you just buy off the shelf.”
He added that over the last few weeks there had been diesel thefts from the yard and within hours of the break-in steps were already being taken to ramp up security.
But it has left them wondering what next?
Mr Noble said: “There are different measures of security going in as we speak that would surprise them. The night after I heard a bang and was over here to see what it was.”
The shop of the builder’s merchants had just been given a face-lift and this year the company celebrated its 25th anniversary of being in business.
“I just would never have dreamed of it. We worked so hard to get all this and they think that they have a God given right to take it.
“They are the scum of the earth.”