TWENTY caravans left in storage by holidaymakers have been broken into and ransacked after thieves went on a crime spree costing thousands of pounds.
The criminals broke into the Paul’s Travel compound, in Oxford Road, Hartlepool, stealing valuable tools and equipment which staff need to service and run the company’s fleet of minibuses.
Then the crooks sneaked into the firm’s secure compound and forced their way into 20 caravans which have been stored by their owners while not in use.
Today, Hartlepool man Paul Little, who has run the business for 12 years, said he was “gutted”.
The 43-year-old dad-of-three told the Mail: “We’ve been at this site for seven years now and this is the first time in all that time that they’ve ever been in.
“I’m angry and I’m gutted for the caravan owners in particular.
“They pay me for a service to store their caravans on my site and we do go out of our way to secure it. I feel bad, really bad, for them.
“As for my tools, they’re essential for the business. For example yesterday I had to go out and buy some new jump leads which cost me £70 for the type I needed. The people who stole my original jump leads might be able to sell them for a fiver or a tenner. It’s not much for something that is so essential to us.
“They haven’t touched the buses, they’ve just gone for the stuff that will be easy for them to sell on.”
He added: “Everything’s just gone. It was a bad week for us.”
The burglars got away with tools, jacks, tool boxes, jump leads and other mechanical equipment from the workshop.
They then forced the doors of the mobile homes and broke one caravan’s window to gain entry.
And although Paul is still working alongside caravan owners to create a list of stolen goods from the caravans, he does know that a television, walking boots, a digital camera, hair straighteners, a car battery and awning was swiped from one.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: “We are investigating a burglary which took place some time between 2pm on Saturday, March 23, and 7am on Monday, March 25 at Paul’s Travel. Thieves broke into a secure compound, then broke into 20 caravans, stealing caravan accessories, tools and car batteries.
“The compound is used by caravan owners to store caravans out of season.”
Anyone who knows anything about the break-in, or is offered any of the tools or items for sale, should telephone police on the non-emergency number 101.