THE owners of a rural business helplessly watched on as would-be thieves ram-raided their store for the second time in just three months.
Dawn and Roland Smith, who own Penn Lawn Motors in Ringwood, were first targeted in January when offenders broke through a brick wall to steal a dozen chainsaws.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the business was raided again by offenders who repeatedly smashed a car into the shutters before leaving empty-handed.
The incident was screened directly to Dawn’s phone via CCTV cameras.
She said: “We got an alarm about this one at 12.30am.
“We could see it happening from home through our phones, so we were able to call police straight away.”
Describing the footage, which has been handed to police, Dawn said two men could be seen on the site.
Neither had concealed their faces with hoods or balaclavas. The men then drive a vehicle into the unit through the shutter.
“We could see the car going backwards and forwards into the shutter through the cameras,” Dawn said.
“Nothing was taken at all but the damage is going to run into the thousands.”
In January’s incident, Dawn and Roland were alerted through an alarm which sounded at midnight.
When they arrived at the store, they discovered a big hole in the wall of their stock room and around 14 chainsaws missing – one of which is worth over £1,000. Dawn called the incident “devastating”.
“It’s soul destroying when you work all the hours to have your own business and then things like this happen,” she said.
The chainsaws, all made by Husqvarna, have not yet been recovered. One was a rare Husqvarna 562XP, which can’t be bought in the UK.
CCTV footage was also recorded of the first incident which showed three men arriving at around 9pm before moving one of the outside cameras from its bracket.
Dawn said she isn’t sure if the two incidents are linked.
“The police are investigating both,” she said.
“We’ve been open here for 17 years and we’ve never had anything happen at all before. Now we’ve had two incidents in three months.”
A spokesperson from Hampshire Constabulary said a 28-year-old man from Dibden and a 22-year-old man from Fawley have been arrested in connection with the most recent raid. Both are continuing to help officers with their enquiries.
On Monday, January 16, thieves ram-raided Ashington Garden Machinery in Merley. Four men used bolt cutters to unlock the gates and then reversed into the shop unit before stealing chainsaws and hedge trimmers.