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Thousands of pounds worth of tools stolen from Kent Wildlife Trust shed in Maidstone


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Kent Wildlife Trust had to delay vital conservation work after thieves broke into its grounds and helped themselves to thousands of pounds worth of tools.

It is the third time the organisation in Maidstone has been targeted in the last two years and this time the trust has released CCTV in a bid to catch those responsible.

The thieves helped themselves by breaking in and stealing tools

More than £8,000 of chainsaws, bush and petrol-hedge cutters were taken from the tool shed at Tyland Barn.

CCTV footage shows two people breaking into the shed on October 29, just after 11pm.

The trust said its work had been promised this year in grant funding applications and these would now have to be delayed to next year's workload.

This could mean they would be forced to repay the money or spend more money on a contractor to do the work for them, therefore operating at a loss.

The tools are deemed vital during winter, as without them the trust cannot deliver its key conservation work, such as clearing space for animals, coppicing and scrub clearance.

Thousands of pounds worth of tools were taken from the shed. Picture: Kent Wildlife Trust
Thousands of pounds worth of tools were taken from the shed. Picture: Kent Wildlife Trust

Winter is the organisation's busiest season, as it aims to complete most of the work without disturbing birds and other wildlife during spring and summer.

Liz Carr, facilities and office manager at Kent Wildlife Trust, said that incidents like this have a strong impact on its business, as it has been struggling with reduced income due to the pandemic.

She added: "There are knock-on effects across the organisation, from the financial costs of replacing these valuable tools, to the extensive staff time required to go through CCTV footage.

"Not only did the thieves take tools worth over £8,000, they also cut their way through a padlock and booted their way through the steel shutter. We don’t know yet how much this damage is going to cost the trust."

In the meantime, Kent Wildlife Trust has been borrowing spare tools but it is struggling to get through this peak conservation period.

Two people breaking into the shed on October 29. Stock picture
Two people breaking into the shed on October 29. Stock picture

It is not the first time that break-ins have happened.

In the beginning of last year, an £18,000 wood chipper was taken but it was luckily recovered due to a tracker installed on it.

In December 2019, chainsaws, a generator and brush cutters were also stolen.

Anyone with information should contact Kent Police on 01622 604100 with reference crime number 46/220303/21.

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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