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Garden centres broken into within hours of one other

Published: 1 March 2012
Two Westcountry garden centres 50 miles apart both fell victim to very similar-style break-ins within hours of one another last weekend.
For Anthony Gould, owner of Goulds Garden Centre in Weymouth, a recent DIYWeek.net news story about an attempted break-in at Monkton Elm Garden and Pet Centre seemed rather coincidentally close to home.

The business-owner was alerted to alarms going off at his family-run garden centre at around 8.40pm on Sunday, February 26. He arrived to find a hole had been cut in the panel of the roof above the garden centre's office space.

"The gates were secure so they must have arrived on foot," Mr Gould told DIY Week. "They had cut a hole in the roof, right through the panelling, and dropped through into the offices. They then made a hole in the wall of the garden centre and climbed through there."

At this point the alarm system went off and the offenders fled the scene empty handed, leaving around £700 worth of damage in their wake. Mr Gould believes the would-be thieves had pre-meditated the crime.

"At any other point in the roof they would have had a long drop down to the ground. I would be very surprised if they hadn't checked out the building before hand."

Within two and a half hours, a hole was cut in the roof of Monkton Elm garden centre, 45 miles away in Somerset. Once again, the would-be thieves managed to gain access to the premises and, once again, fled the scene as soon as the alarms went off.

Despite intervention from Walford Security, a police helicopter, seven police vehicles and a dog handler, no arrests were made.

Damages to Monkton Elm's roof panelling were estimated at several hundred pounds and both businesses are facing an unwelcome setback in their preparations for Spring trading.

"Trading is difficult enough at the moment without something like this happening," said Mr Gould. "It is conceivable the two incidents may be linked as they would have had enough time between the two attempts to travel from one location to the other."

Police have not yet confirmed whether the two incidents are linked.

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