A RESPECTED landscape gardener has been left £7,000 out of pocket after thieves broke into his lock up and stole expensive equipment.
Hartlepool businessman John Ranson, who has run John Ranson Lanscapes for over 20 years, was away on holiday when he was told by one of his employees about the crime.
The crooks had managed to break their way through locked gates to get into the yard.
They then smashed a window on his Ford Transit van and reversed the vehicle to get access into a locked building.
Once inside the thieves helped themselves to a list of gardening equipment, including:
l a silver 15ft by 6ft Ifor Williams trailer registration plate R36 MBB;
l two Suzuki Flymo grass cutters;
l a Wiebang grass cutter;
l a duty Stihl strimmer;
l a four-stroke Stihl strimmer;
l a Stihl chainsaw;
l a McCulloch chainsaw;
l a Hayter Ranger 53 grass cutter.
The total bill for the goods runs at over £7,000.
Today John said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was told. It must have been a planned professional job and someone must have seen them driving away with all the gear and the trailer.
“They’ll have needed a Transit van at least to pull the trailer because it’s quite a size.
“Hopefully the trailer will be the giveaway and the registration can be picked up on police cameras.”
John, who carries out work from Northumberland to Hull for breweries and even the NHS, was away on holiday with his wife in Benidorm when he rang his worker to cancel a job.
The worker informed him that the crime must have taken place between 4.30pm on Tuesday and 8am Wednesday morning.
Cleveland Police were contacted about the incident and officers are investigating.
John, who arrived back on UK soil on Thursday, said: “I think they have gone in and out at the top end of Sandringham Road, closest to Duke Street.
“It’s been years since anything like this has happened to me, about 16 years. It’s just sickening, they don’t realise the consequences.
“The equipment wasn’t insured either because the amount you get back from the insurance companies is not worth the premiums I have to pay.”
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “A trailer, lawn mowers and other equipment was taken from the premises.” Anyone with any information about the crime is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Rebecca Hudsworth on 101, or Crimestoppers on (0800) 555111.