Reward up for grabs after thieves target five businesses in one night
Business owners have been rocked by five break-ins on their estate in a single night costing them thousands of pounds.
The Coppice Farm Estate at Teddesley, Penkridge, was targeted by thieves in the early hours of Thursday, with thousands of pounds worth of tools being taken alongside cash and other goods.
Five businesses were hit, ranging from a carpentry firm to a wood-stove shop and a cafe.
Those affected have now put up a £750 reward for information leading to a conviction after CCTV images were released of the thieves.
The break-ins come after MAD Ford Engineering, also in Penkridge, had £60,000 worth of tools stolen.
Andy Dale, aged 38, of Eccleshall, and the owner of AJ Woodstoves, said he and other business owners had decided to put up the reward in an effort to catch the thieves before they strike again.
Mr Dale, who had cash taken and filing equipment damaged, said: "It seems to me like these are people who will keep going until they are caught.
"We are working together to try and catch them, we have made posters and are offering a reward.
"Our appeals have been seen by thousands on Facebook so hopefully it is only a matter of time. We got off quite lightly but we will need to repair some of our locks now and try and move on."
The thieves got onto the business site and carried out the break-ins by using an instrument to force open doors.
Police say they failed to get into another two business units, while a vehicle was also broken into.
Carrie Cooper, 22, works at family business Coopers Wood Range, which manufactures wooden products such as benches and tables, with her father Gary.
She said trade had suffered yesterday as they looked to recover from their losses – which included more than £1,000 worth of tools.
She said: "We have had to cancel jobs because we just haven't got the tools to carry them out now.
"It is hard to imagine what they were thinking because they just took anything they could get their hands on, even broken tools.
"They stole a reciprocator, which they would have had to dismantle, so it could be that they know how these tools work.
"We usually have people working here at all hours on the estate so it is a shame that this happened when no-one was around."
CCTV footage taken from AJ Woodstoves show two males on site in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Staffordshire Police described one of them as being of slim build, tall, and wearing a light-coloured jacket, trousers and beanie-type hat. The other is described as having a stocky build.
Lucy Buxton, owner of the Coppice Farm Estate and garden equipment shop Buxtons, said she felt lucky to have escaped with nothing taken, despite the thieves attempting to break in to her shop.
She said: "A lot of us have been here for a long time and nothing of this scale has happened before.
"My shop got off lightly but I really feel for the other businesses who don't just have to cope with the shock of being broken into but also the loss of equipment and trade."
Daniel Pryor, 31, who owns Timber Construction, said what happened had been an 'eye opener'.
He said: "We just came in on the morning and saw what happened, it was a big shock. It is sad because I usually start very early in the mornings and I could have been here and maybe stopped this.
"They took around £800 worth of tools from me but it just seems so random, there was plenty of other things that they missed. It could have been worse but it is definitely an eye-opener and makes you think about the security of your business."
Also taken during the raids were chocolate bars, drinks and petty cash from the on-site Cabin Cafe.
Anyone with any information can call Pc Scott Dean at Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 86 of June 30, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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