GARDENING equipment worth an estimated £24,000 has been stolen from Torfaen County Borough Council offices in an overnight raid.

The burglary occurred at some point between 11pm on Tuesday, April 11 and 2am yesterday, April 12, and Gwent Police are investigating the incident at the council’s neighbourhood services depot on Panteg Way, New Inn.

Torfaen council has confirmed that it will be aiding the police with their inquiries into the burglary.

A council spokesman confirmed that as a consequence of the incident, aside from the monetary loss, seasonal staff have lost on two days of employment.

“The thieves have stolen brand new outdoor maintenance equipment such as strimmers and hedge cutters which will cost the council a significant amount of money to replace,” a council spokesman said.

“All the equipment had been marked with Smartwater, a forensic marking product which cannot be removed and will help identify the equipment. 

“We’ve had to suspend nearly all grass cutting for the next few days and cancel work for 16 seasonal agency staff,” he added.

The council has said all the items have asset numbers.

According to the police, the outdoor maintenance equipment taken in the burglary includes 15 Stihl strimmers, five Stihl grass blowers, three long handle hedge cutters and three short handle hedge cutters.

CCTV footage from the neighbourhood services depot shows a van, believed to be a white or silver Ford Transit, pulling up to the main gates at around 11.10pm on Tuesday.

Two men got out of the van before one of the pair, wearing dark tracksuit bottoms with Adidas stripes, a cap and white trainers, cut the chain on the front gates.

The van drove through the gates and then is seen leaving at 11.16pm. Later on at 1.24am on Wednesday morning, the van is seen driving into the premises.

The items taken during the burglary were stored in two storage containers on the property, which were entered by damaging the locks on the inside and outside of the units.

Anyone with information should call the police on 101, quoting log 58 12/04/17 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.