Professional burglars have been blamed for a raid on a business centre where ten firms were targeted by intruders who first knocked out a security system.
One company lost stock worth £6,000 and others also suffered substantial losses, with many of the firms at Denholme Business Centre, on Halifax Road, uninsured and having to absorb the losses.
Police said the raid happened at about 1am yesterday when the CCTV system covering the premises was damaged and a tool used to force shutter doors open on units inside.
The damage was found by security officials who turned up later in the morning and they contacted police, who were still examining the scene for possible evidence last night.
Businessman Sarbjit Nanglu, who runs the Bronte Auto Centre, said he had lost stock valued at about £6,000 which was made up mainly of Snap on tools.
He was surprised that the alarm had not been raised when the security cameras stopped operating as the raid got under way, he said.
“They have casually taken everything. It is very surprising and we are all convinced it is someone who knows their way around the place,” he said.
Entry to the building had been gained via toilets, before a security centre was attacked to disable the cameras, he said.
But the criminals had outwitted other security devices, including infra-red beams which detect movement, to steal goods and successfully escape.
Cabinet maker Paul White said his ground-floor workshops were searched, but his tools and equipment were untouched and only a £100 radio stolen.
“I was really lucky, because some people have lost stock worth thousands of pounds. I think it was a professional gang involved,” he said.
Val Robinson, who has run Denholme Pets Emporium at the site for the past two years, said they had lost about £1,000 in stock, with the raiders targeting small high-value items.
“In some ways we are quite lucky because they have only taken small items and they didn’t smash things up, which could quite easily have happened,” she said.
“They got into ours through other units. I gather they have not taken anything from some units, but have just wrecked them.
“We are a new business, we have only been here for two years. A lot of people have started to use the business centre, people in the village welcome it because it has brought some employment.”
No comment was available from the centre’s management last night.
Police are appealing for witnesses, or anyone with information, to contact them on 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555444, where information can be left anonymously.