THIEVES who stole metal worth £80,000 from an engineering company could be posing as employees to sell it as scrap.
Aluminium and steel equipment and products were snatched from DS Precision engineers in Cartwright Street, Littletown, early on Sunday, along with company overalls.
Managing director Doug Ibberson said he believed the thieves would try to sell it on as scrap while wearing the overalls to appear legitimate.
He said: “We got an alarm call at about 11.30pm on Saturday night so came out to have a look. The locks on the main gate were okay but the alarm had been tampered with. We got an engineer to come out and reset it and went home about 2am.
“The next day we got a call to say the door had been smashed in.
“We couldn’t believe it when we saw what they had done. Some of what they took was for an order worth £20,000 so that has to be done again.
“They have taken all the stainless steel bars we use in manufacturing; tools, drills and special steel equipment which is really expensive. A lot of it was finished work and they have taken some equipment that belonged to other companies. Some of it was worth thousands.
“They have cleaned us out – there was nothing left.”
The thieves even loaded up Doug’s Mitsubishi 4x4 which was parked inside the warehouse – then smashed through the gates in it before driving away.
He said: “We have seen their torches flashing on CCTV – we think there were four of them here for two hours. All they can do is sell it all for scrap metal. We have notified all the dealers.
“It is going to take weeks to get back in front. We are now at least a month behind with orders.
“We have been going 15 years and have accumulated all our tooling over that time. We won’t know if something has been taken until we need it.
“Some of the staff are upset because they have broken into their wooden toolboxes which they have had since they were kids. They are irreplaceable.
“But they are all working overtime so we don’t lose any customers.”
Doug is putting up a £1,000 reward for information leading to the successful conviction of the thieves. Anyone with any information should contact the police non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.