THIEVES believed to specialise in stealing forestry power tools, are thought to be responsible for stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment belonging to a charity.

The tools – four nearly-new chainsaws, two Stihls and two Husqvarnas – plus a brush-cutter and a strimmer were stolen overnight sometime between 10.30 pm on November 27 and 7.30 am the following day.

Thieves broke into the back of a Land Rover Defender belonging to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation charity, parked outside the home of Rob Free in Hogs Hill, Fernhurst. They also broke into his locked garden shed and stole a Stihl strimmer worth £350.

The Weald reserves manager, who works at the National Trust Witley Centre, near Haslemere said: “It is rather heartbreaking that someone would steal from a charity.

Mr Free added: “ The tools cost almost £4,000 new and our insurance will only pay a fraction of this if anything.

“The police officer who attended believed a thief, or thieves, specialising in stealing forestry power tools was involved.”

He has warned people in the area to be vigilant and appealed to them to look out for people offering cheap second-hand power tools without receipts or maintenance logs.

West Sussex Police have the relevant tool serial numbers in case they should turn up. Anyone with any information should phone 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.