Garden centre owner speaks of his ‘devastation’ after being raided by burglars for 17th time in 12 years

The JCB digger was stolen together with a trailer from the garden centre

The JCB digger was stolen together with a trailer from the garden centre - Credit: Archant

A business owner has been left devastated after his garden centre was raided by burglars for the 17th time in 12 years.

Bruce Freeman, owner of the Redbridge Garden Centre, Roding Lane North, Woodford Green said that up to £80,000 of stock was taken.

Mr Freeman was on holiday at the time when his “shocked” and “devastated” staff called him to tell him the business had been burgled.

“It’s just ridiculous, this time is the most severe,” Mr Freeman said. “We had CCTV and alarms, I don’t know how much more we can do. Now we have really gone to town and have a new system.”

The thieves loaded up power tools, a JCB digger and even seeds worth thousands of pounds on to two of the garden centre’s vehicles which were also taken.

One of the vehicles was later found dumped in Hainault and the other in Chigwell.

Mr Freeman said: “My staff called me up at eight in the morning and said we had been burgled, I’d gone on holiday the day before so I returned straight away.

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“We have no idea really how much has been stolen, we go to look for something and realise it’s gone.”

The entire garden centre was turned over and staff found trolleys loaded up with items which the thieves could not fit into the trucks.

Mr Freeman said: “The staff were devastated and shocked, absolutely devastated. We will carry on but we have lost a lot of money. We couldn’t make deliveries as we didn’t have the vehicles.”

The burglary took place at Redbridge Garden Centre on Wednesday February 27, or early the following day.

Police are appealing for anyone with information about the burglary to come forward, particularly if you have been offered any of the items stolen from the centre.

If you believe you may know something which may aid the investigation call Redbridge Police on 020 8345 2680, or to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.