A GARDENER was left feeling “shocked and sickened” after most of his expensive equipment was stolen from his truck in broad daylight.
Brad Brasier said his back was turned for less than 30 seconds when brazen thieves stole more than £500 of power tools from his Mitsubishi Pajero.
He now fears without the vital tools he could lose business and therefore stuggle to support his wife and step-daughter.
Brad, 33, of Ham Road, Worthing, said: “These guys might think they are stealing items that are easy to sell, but what they don’t realise is that they are stealing from somebody who needs them to feed their family.
“I know all stealing is wrong, but stealing from somebody who is obviously running their own business is as bad as breaking into their house.”
Brad started his gardening firm two-and-a-half years ago, having spent two years prior to that in Australia studying horticulture.
Setting up his own firm was his dream, having worked as a letting agent before deciding to make the move into gardening.
When the theft happened last Tuesday, September 11, Brad was beginning his first day of contract work at Worthing Ferring Garden Centre in Littlehapmton Road, Worthing.
It was 11.50am, and he said he had just parked his van, got out to pick something up, and as his back was turned, the thieves struck.
He said: “When I realised what they weren’t there, I panicked, and started thinking ‘where have I put them?’ but then I remembered they had been in the truck.
“I ran into the centre, and we looked on the CCTV and saw that two men in a silver car had pulled up about five minutes earlier and had been watching me. Then, when my back was turned, they took the opportunity to grab it and go. It was so opportunist and so quick.
“I felt sick when I realised what had happened. It was a real shock. I would appeal to them to give them back, because this is my livelihood.”
The thieves stole two petrol-driven strimmers, a hedge trimmer and attachment and a 20 litre can of fuel.
They left the mower, so Brad is able to complete some of his jobs, but he fears without the return of the other items he may have to cancel other jobs and will lose money.
He has spoken to his insurance company, and they will not pay out because it was classed as an unlocked vehicle. So, Brad said he will have to try to build up the tools again gradually as he cannot afford the initial outlay now.
A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: “Police were called to Worthing Ferring Garden Centre on Littlehampton Road on Tuesday, September 11, after reports of a theft. Gardening equipment was stolen from a vehicle just before noon.
“Officers are investiagting but anyone who saw anything suspicious around that time is asked to call police on 101 quoting 0633 of 11/9.”