Topiary stolen from family-run Thamesdown garden centre

A family-run garden centre has called for help after being targeted by a thief who stole hundreds of pounds worth of garden plants.

John Goodey, whose family owns Thamesdown Garden Centre in Garsington, says he believes the box topiary was taken specifically to order as the burglar appeared to be taking orders over the phone.

He has therefore plead for people to look out for box pyramids, ball boxes and spirals suddenly appearing in gardens.

John, who is 62 years old, said about ?600 worth of goods were taken in the early hours of last Wednesday morning in what he seems to believe was a premeditated theft, after viewing the store?s CCTV.

Semi-retired Mr Goodey, who lives on the garden centre site with younger brother Norman, said: “It’s quite heartless really.

“This is our livelihood, especially my sisters as she runs most of the business. The man on the CCTV is on the phone and looks like he is going round choosing what to take.

“I just hope if a neighbour sees seven or eight topiary pieces appear in a garden they get in touch, they would certainly be able to tell.”

According to Mr Goodey, the CCTV shows a white Citroen van pull up and shine lights on the gate, just before driving off. This happened at midnight.

Following on from this, at about 2:50am, a car pulled up and a man got out on his mobile phone, unwrapped the chain and stole two plants before leaving the gate open as he drove off.

Then, around 25 minutes later, the CCTV shows the same vehicle with a passenger in it return, and a man getting out on his mobile phone again before seizing six more boxes worth between ?65 and ?75 each.

The Goodey family, who have run the Oxford Road centre for more than 40 years, were fast asleep did not realise a crime had taken place until they asked each other whether any boxes had been sold.

Mr Goodey said the thief would not have been able to tell the gate was unlocked had he not “really looked at it.”

He added: “It seems like the person was stealing for somebody and it makes me think he has been here before.

“You can see the man takes the boxes and then realises he hasn’t shut the gate, so comes back and wraps the chain around so it looks exactly like it was.

“We think he must have done something like this before.”

Mr Goodey said the goods were not insured due to the price of the premiums being too expensive.

It comes as figures released in August by insurance company NFU Mutual said thefts of farm tools, garden equipment and quad bikes cost almost three quarters of a million pounds in insurance claims last year – 16 per cent more than in 2014.

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