Stolen Sidmouth pick-up used in �10k fags and booze heist

Garden centre owner offers �1k reward

THE owner of Sidmouth Garden Centre has offered a �1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of thieves who stole his pick-up truck on Monday night to use in a robbery.

James Trevett, manager of the garden centre, sited off the A3052, said owner Ian Barlow was offering the reward for information that “leads directly to the arrest and conviction of those involved”.

The green 2004-reg pick-up was spotted by police in a ditch near Chard on Tuesday and has now been linked to a �10,000 burglary at Kilmington Service Station near Axminster.

PC Matthew Sinker confirmed the pick-up had been used in the burglary, which took place between 3am and 4am on Tuesday morning, and that a witness saw a man leaving the scene in the vehicle.

Police have issued a description of this man as being about 5ft 7ins tall, of medium build with ‘east European’ looking skin and large brown eyes.

He spoke with a Midlands accent and was wearing a dark grey hooded ‘bomber jacket’, dark trousers and a khaki buff scarf concealing his mouth.

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James said Ian had wanted to offer the reward after the centre break-in, to encourage people to come forward with information about the pick-up theft.

“If it can be a help to police to get people talking, and get information leading to an arrest, then it is something he would like to do,” said James, who said nothing else was stolen from the garden centre.

He said the last person who saw him lock up on Monday at around 5.30pm was a man on the opposite side of the road “who climbed through the hedge” and was setting up a tripod to take pictures of the centre’s Christmas reindeer.

“Our pick-up is an old vehicle…but it is our workhorse and has been for seven years. It is part of the family,” said James.

“We work hard for what we get and put a lot of time into the centre. There is nothing more frustrating and horrible than to have people feel they can take it to use for a bigger purpose.”

Security will be tightened up at the centre.