Blackdown Garden Centre owner 'gutted' after £12,000 theft

Somerset County Gazette: Paul Prettyjohn. Paul Prettyjohn.

THE owner of a garden centre near Wellington said he is ‘gutted’ after thieves ransacked his business and stole equipment worth £12,000.

Paul Prettyjohn, who has owned the garden machinery outlet at Blackdown Garden Centre, in West Buckland, for four years, said he couldn’t believe what he was being told after his colleague turned up for work and found the premises had been broken into.

Thieves took 18 chainsaws, ten hedge-trimmers, one strimmer, four blowers and one disc cutter during the raid.

Mr Prettyjohn said: “I am absolutely gutted, distraught and so annoyed this has happened.

“They must have planned it because they went through the roof, took the recorder from the CCTV so we don’t have any video from inside the store and they were wearing gloves.

“The cameras cannot pick up the registration plate of the car they loaded up, either.

“When my colleague turned up for work on the Friday he was gobsmacked when he saw it.”

Paul, who lives with his wife and three children, said the family are not too badly affected in terms of Christmas preparations but he did hope a member of the public could tip him off to help police track down the culprits.

After reviewing the CCTV coverage from outside the store, he added: “They pulled up outside and broke into the main gates of the garden centre using two bars to pull the gates apart.

“They must have been inside for around an hour but another car pulled up and it took them around two-and-a-half minutes to load the vehicle.

“I am just really annoyed and it is just a lot of hassle – they are low and it is so dishonest, it does not get them anywhere and it will catch up with them one day.”

The incident happened on Thursday, December 5 at around 9.30pm. If you can help, call police on 101 or Paul on 07775-902878.

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