Police appeal for information after burglars raid a Honiton garden centre, as business owner reveals culprits ‘turned the place over’

Burglars who broke into a garden centre in Honiton during an after-dark raid ripped the internet and alarm system off the wall.

Police were called to Combe Garden Centre, in Hayne Lane, shortly before 9pm on Monday (March 20), where they found the culprits had trashed a staff office during a search of the premises.

Officers believe the garden centre was targeted shortly after 8pm and are appealing for witnesses, CTTV or dashcam footage, to help with their investigation.

Garden centre owner James Trevett turned to social media to tell customers of the raid.

Filming the damage to an office, showing a hole in the wall where burglars ripped away internet and alarm equipment, and revealing property strewn over surfaces after culprits ‘turned the place over’, Mr Trevett said although the garden centre’s internet was down, it was business as usual.

He told customers there were a ‘few issues to work through today (Tuesday) as last night we had a visitor (or two) and they turned the place over’.

Issues as a result of the break-in included a temporary lack of internet, affecting card payments in the gift shop, and restrictions to restaurant opening hours while repairs were carried out.

An emergency till and card reader was installed for payments made in the garden centre.

Mr Trevett said: “While they were here, they ripped the broadband and internet off the wall, ripped the alarm off the wall, obviously trying to silence it I suppose, or cover their tracks.

“The place has been a bit beaten up. Most of it seems to be all right and we can’t see exactly what’s been taken yet, but we are going to dig a little bit further.”

He told customers: “We spent most of the night here. The police were really good and turned up really quickly but didn’t catch anybody in the act.

“So now we’re going to gather up as much evidence as we can and to do that means we can’t go into the places that have been damaged.”

He said that included an area where the internet server and the garden centre CCTV cameras were kept.

Mr Trevett said police returned to the garden centre on Tuesday morning (March 21) ‘looking for more clues’, and ‘dusting for fingerprints’.

He said: “Hopeful they will find things to aid the case. Whoever broke in left at 8.09 last night, so if anyone nearby saw anything we would love to hear from you.”

Devon and Cornwall police confirmed officers were called to reports of a burglary at the garden centre on Monday night.

A police spokesman said: “Police were called to commercial premises in Hayne Lane, Gittisham, just before 8.55pm on 20 March to reports of a burglary.

“Persons unknown had gained entry and conducted an untidy search. Enquiries are ongoing.

“It is believed entry was gained at about 8.10pm.”

He added: “If you witnessed the incident or have any information or footage that could help with enquiries, please contact police via our website.”

  • If you have information to help police, report it here, or call 101, quoting log 0750 of 20 March.

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