COUNTY NEWS: Boy's Christmas present stolen in garden centre burglary

A Sussex garden centre owner's Christmas present for his five-year-old son was stolen along with £20,000 worth of goods and cash by '˜callous' burglars.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 10:32 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:07 pm
Bob Shelley and his son in the now empty store room at Robertsbridge Garden Machine Centre. Photo by Bob Shelley SUS-161220-135206001

Robertsbridge Garden Machine Centre was broken into overnight on Tuesday, December 13, with a range of valuable chainsaws, lawn mowers and tools taken plus around £1,000.

Owner Bob Shelley was keeping a child’s push bike in the office for his son, who has a rare heart condition, ahead of Christmas Day but the thieves took it as well.

Mr Shelley said the toy would be replaced and the break-in would not affect the business too badly, but admitted it had ‘taken the edge off Christmas’.

“It’s just a sad story that this is the world we live in, where callous thieves will take something like that,” he said.

“They have done quite a bit of damage in the office as I assume they were looking for items of value, it’s not pleasant.

“It’s an intrusion of your privacy, we’ve worked hard to build the business up and it just gets thrown back in your face.

“It sort of takes the edge off Christmas as you’re constantly worried about another break-in.”

Mr Shelley, who lives in Hurst Green, arrived at the Station Road garden centre on Wednesday, December 14, and found signs of forced entry.

Police were called at around 1.50pm and are investigating.

“Approximately £20,000 worth of tools were stolen and around £1,000 cash sometime between 6pm on Tuesday and 8am that morning,” a police spokesman said.

“An investigation is currently ongoing.”

Anyone with information is asked to email [email protected], quoting reference 382 of 14/12.

Alternatively report information online at or call police on 101.

People with information can also anonymously contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit

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