Workers at a Wolverhampton memorial firm have had to down tools after thieves made off with a £6,000 forklift truck.
The crooks struck at Hopcrafts & Sons Memorials on Lord Street, in Merridale just minutes after staff left for the day.
It is believed the criminals scaled a 10-foot-high gate and cut bolts to the entrance before driving the truck down the street.
Hopcrafts & Sons Memorials specialise in making and engraving headstones.
But the theft has meant owner Frank Jones and his 10 employees have been unable to work as the truck is needed to move headstones around the factory.
West Midlands Police has launched an investigation into the theft.
Mr Jones, who has run the company for 25 years, said that several men white men in their 40s are believed to be involved in the theft which happened at around 5.30pm on Tuesday.
He said: “I came into work the following morning and saw the gates open. It was then I realised that someone had taken the fork lift and cut the bolts to do so.
“They had to scale a 10-foot gate to get in so they had to be wily.
“From the descriptions of witnesses this wasn’t kids, they were fully grown men. The people who have stolen this truck are brazen, they did this in broad daylight.”
“It goes to show that some people would rather go out stealing than work a day in their lives. It’s left us unable to work. The forklift truck was about £6,000 and we’ve had to ask about hiring one. That isn’t due until next week so we’re not able to work until then.”
Spokesman for West Midlands Police, Billy Corrigan, said officers had been looking at CCTV footage as part of their investigation and added: “Officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding the theft of a forklift truck from a compound in Lord Street.
“The crime is believed to have happened overnight between 6pm on August 20 and 8am the next day. CCTV has been checked and local businesses spoken with. Other inquiries are also under way. Anyone who spotted anything suspicious should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on0800 555 111.”