Thieves target Burnley charity for second time

Freshfields Nursery have been targeted yet again by thieves.
Freshfields Nursery have been targeted yet again by thieves.

STAFF and volunteers at a charity, which provides gardening work for people with learning disabilities, have been targeted by raiders for the second time in weeks, leaving them devastated.

Workers at Fresh Fields Enterprises Ltd in Burnley’s Cemetery Lane were hit just over a month ago when sneak thieves stole gardening equipment including three petrol strimmers, two petrol blowers and a petrol pole hedge cutter from the trailer from outside the premises as it was being prepared to be hitched up to the minibus ready to set off on a job.

And in the latest burglary the £1,500 Ifor Williams trailer itself, used by the volunteers to transport equipment to gardening jobs, was stolen by thieves who used bolt cutters to break into the premises at 2-20am on Sunday.

Centre manager Mrs Gail Harvey-Clapham said that the latest theft had left her “sick”.

She told the Express: “I watched the whole thing on CCTV. Two people wearing hoods used bolt cutters to break into the yard and then to cut the trailer free from the telegraph pole which it was padlocked to.

“They have then wheeled the trailer outside and a short time later a car turns up, without lights, and they have hitched the trailer to the back and then driven off. This was obviously planned and organised but what sort of people do this?

“We don’t have a lot to start with and now they have taken everything. It has been dreadful breaking the news to the volunteers because last time they were in tears over what happened’

“We have CCTV cameras, security lights and also everything is practically bolted down so I don’t know what more we can do?”

Gail, who discovered the trailer had been taken when she turned up at the site on Monday morning to take it to the garage for repairs, is now hoping that someone may have seen or heard something around the time of the latest break-in.

She said: “Someone may have seen them driving up Cemetery Lane and spotted which direction they went in when they got to Rossendale Road. I don’t know what make of vehicle was used to take the trailer but it was a small and looked like it could be a Fiat model.

“Any bit of information, however small, could help us. And if you spot the trailer that is even better.’’

Gail has also asked if anyone has a spare trailer if they could donate it to Fresh Fields so the work can continue, adding: “ I just don’t know where we will go from here after this, it seems these people won’t stop until they have put us out of business.’’

The large aluminium trailer has the registration plate PK02 OUE and wires are sticking out of the left indicator as it is broken. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.