Metal thieves target village farms

TWO Haddenham farmers have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket after they were raided by metal thieves.

A leek harvesting machine and a metal pig feeder were stolen in separate incidents overnight between February 1-2 on farms on Lode Way, with the estimated bill for repairs and new equipment topping a staggering �40,000.

The thieves are believed to have approached the farms on quad bikes before heading out into the fields and targeting expensive equipment.

“They stripped a high value leek harvesting machine of its batteries and other high value metal parts leaving the machine inoperable. The damage and costs for repair are estimated to be in the region of �40-50,000,” Cambridgeshire police said.

Officers believe it would have taken a number of offenders to strip the machine due to the weight of the items stolen and the length of time it would have taken to dismantle the parts.

On the same evening, thieves also stole a pig feeding machine from a livestock farm, adjacent to where the first theft took place. Police said that the two offences are being linked and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on the new non emergency number 101.

The raid came just days after a leek harvesting firm in Chatteris claimed it would be forced to axe 40 jobs after it was targeted by metal thieves.

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Nightlayer Leek Company, based in Dean Grove, is facing a repair bill of up to �30,000 after vandals struck last week, damaging one of the company’s three leek harvesting rigs.

The Ely Standard reported just last week that thieves had stripped thousands of pounds worth of lead from two of Ely’s most iconic buildings.

In the early hours of January 25, a gang targeted the recently refurbished Maltings on Ship Lane stripping hundreds of pounds worth of the valuable metal from the roof of the 19th Century landmark and the attack came just weeks after an estimated �15,000 worth of lead was stolen from the Grade I-listed Old Bishops Palace, which is currently being used by the King’s School.