A devastated self-employed father says his gardening business has been left in ruins by a £40,000 robbery over the weekend.
A gang broke in to an industrial yard at Fold Farm, in Galley Lane, and carried out an organised raid of equipment, tools and trailers from two businesses based there.
It is thought the gang spent more than two hours, probably on Saturday, breaking through the High Barnet farm’s gates and cutting their way into large metal industrial containers and six vans.
The thieves got away with more than 71 pieces of machinery, including generators worth thousands of pounds, ride-on lawn mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters, chain saws and construction tools.
At least four of six vans on the site have had doors ripped off and panels removed, while on-site offices were also ransacked by the gang.
The group used four trailers at the site to remove equipment in what the business owners say must have been a thoroughly planned operation.
Neil Carter, who set up his gardening company Cut It Right ten years ago, arrived this morning to find his site and offices in a scene of devastation.
The 37-year-old father-of-three, who had moved his business to the farm 12 months ago, said: “They’ve taken everything. It is so much to count – it is unbelievable.
“This is ten years of business just gone. I feel sick to the stomach and pretty emotional to be honest. It hurts – you work so hard to build yourself up and someone just comes in and takes that away from you.
“They must have had three vehicles down here just for all the tools they removed. They even got away with a 1,000 litre water tank for a jet washer – someone must have seen that going down the road.”
Thousands of pounds of tools were also taken from Arbour Design and Build, a company that moved to the yard six months ago.
Business owner Richard Bickler said: “They’ve broken into our vans and containers, helped themselves to about 70 per cent of our tools, ripped up the vans.
“It’s about £35,000 to £40,000 of damage and stolen equipment. We will have to claim the money on insurance and relocate. In 20 years this is the biggest theft we have had to deal with – it is devastating.”
Neil believes the gang took their opportunity during heavy snow over the weekend when it would have been clear no-one was at the site.
He said: “They knew what they were doing – they must have had some huge cutters with them to get through all the thick metal locks.
“It must have been organised from top to bottom – I’d say they were watching us and planning it for some time so when the snow came it was a perfect opportunity.”
Neil is yet to speak in detail with his insurers but is concerned he may not be covered for thefts of this size or nature.
He said: “I’m worried the business is finished now. It sounds like I’m not covered but I need to speak to them some more.
“I just want to get up and get on with it now. I don’t want to sit down and let this be the end of my business so I will try to fight back and carry on.”