A family-run tree surgery business could be forced to fold after thieves stole £60,000 worth of tools and equipment – all engraved with cartoon character names.
Gavin Bassford, owner of The Oaklands Group in Catherine-de-Barnes, says 200 items were stolen, all carrying famous toon names including Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck and Tweety Pie.
Thieves struck at the firm’s premises in Greswolde Road on Monday. Raiders had also previously targeted the business in October.
In total, a huge haul of tools and equipment has been stolen, including lawnmowers, chainsaws and hedge-cutters.
“We’ve been wiped out,” said Mr Bassford, who has been running the business for 10 years with his brother and sister.
“As a family, this has absolutely devastated us and we’re seriously questioning whether we want to carry on.
“They took the majority of the equipment in October and then we were hit again a few days ago, where they cleared out the rest of the unit.
“Some of the tools that have been taken have been in the family for years, tools that have been given to me by my dad, which were given to him by his dad.
“As well as the financial loss, there is also the sentimental loss.
“They have destroyed not only our livelihoods but also the livelihoods of the employees, who could soon be out of a job.
“Someone in the area must know something, I am certain of it.
“This amount of equipment cannot go unnoticed and we are asking anyone who is offered the tools to get in touch with the police.
“This equipment is very expensive to buy but is then sold on very cheap.
“We had each tool and piece of equipment inscribed with the name of a cartoon character, Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck, Tweety Pie. All the names you can think of.
“We did this in case they were ever stolen but also so we can identify them as we are working.
“All of the people I have working for me, which can go up to around 20 in the summer months, are very close to me. “We are a reliable and trustworthy business.”
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said investigations are still ongoing into the latest incident.
If you have amy information, call police on 101