An astonished architect has slammed brazen thieves who carried out an audacious £1,500 gate raid at his home as he and his family slept just yards away.
Gary Local says he feels he has been handed a ‘kick in the teeth’ after the bespoke steel gates, which he designed himself and weigh a combined 100kg, were stolen from his property in Marine Approach, South Shields in an opportunistic late-night raid.
Mr Local believes only a ‘sophisticated’ criminal gang could have pulled off the well-orchestrated swoop, without being spotted by CCTV cameras in place at his home or even seen by neighbours.
Now he has issued a £100 reward for information in a bid to bring the calculating crooks to justice.
The 52-year-old, who lives with partner Alex and her son Warwick, believes the daring theft may have been carried out while he slept soundly in bed.
The theft took place in April but Mr Local is now closer to uncovering the crime.
Mr Local feels the culprits may have used bolt cutters to prise the gates free before lifting them into a get-away trailer and fleeing the crime scene without barely making a noise.
Mr Local: “The bolts from the gate were on the ground and police believe from the condition they were in that bolt cutters may have been used.
“We believe it may have happened between the hours of 9pm and 5am, when we would have been in the house.
“The gates are made out of mild steel so they would only have made only a slight click.
“The police believe they may have been stolen to order. They were very organised and used bolt cutters to free the gates from their wall posts by cutting through the security hinges in the night.
“I designed them and had them made up by a local fabricator, so if they are hanging on someone else’s walls they can’t deny they had them stolen, as there isn’t a design like them in the world. They are very distinctive.”
Mr Local says the crime was a ‘dreadful’ blow for him, as he has already ploughed tens of thousands of pounds into renovating the six-bedroom property.
He added; “We bought the home in 2006 and I must have spent £100,000 renovating it, then we get someone stealing from us.
“I feel dreadful about it.
“I want those responsible to be brought to justice and am willing to offer a reward.”
The driveway gates had been in place for less than three years.
Mr Local is urging anyone with information about the theft to contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said; “Police are carrying out inquiries after metal gates were stolen from a property in Marine Approach, South Shields.
“The theft occured between 7.30pm and 5am on on April 22.”
Any witnesses are asked to contact police on 101, quoting the reference number 108 220416 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.