A TORRINGTON couple have put up a £5,000 reward to help catch thieves who raided their scrap metal business last month. Patricia and Arthur Poulton woke up devastated to discover that more than £80,000 of scrap metal had been stolen from their yard during

A TORRINGTON couple have put up a £5,000 reward to help catch thieves who raided their scrap metal business last month.

Patricia and Arthur Poulton woke up devastated to discover that more than £80,000 of scrap metal had been stolen from their yard during the early hours of Friday, August 13.

The couple, who live in a bungalow adjoining the site at Deepmoor Metal Processors, say they are still having trouble sleeping following the brazen torchlight break-in.

"It's left us with an awful feeling to know that we were in bed asleep only 25 yards away," said Mrs Poulton.

"If we had woken up during the break-in, who knows what would have happened? It is still quite upsetting and traumatic and we have not been sleeping well since. I keep getting up in the middle of the night and looking out the window and even Arthur, who can sleep through a thunder storm, has been getting up to have a look.

"We hope things will settle down and get back to normal but I think it will take a long time."

Five people were pictured on CCTV taking part in the break-in at the yard on the outskirts of Torrington.

Crooks cut through a chain link fence at the rear of the family business and spent nearly five hours hauling tonnes of copper and brass across the yard before making a getaway on a stolen tractor through an adjoining field.

It is thought the gang used metal scaffold poles to lift 12 bags of chopped copper pipe and cylinders, around nine tonnes in total. They also took 250 kilos of brass bullet shells; 200 kilos brass swarf; three bags of brass, each weighing around a tonne; as well as a large amount of baled pyro, brass and copper radiators, copper wire and lacquered wire.

Mrs Poulton said she and her husband had decided to put up a reward in the hope that people might come forward with information about the raid.

"We're not interested in getting back what was stolen but for our own peace of mind, we'd just like to know who did it and where it went so we can put this event behind us," she said.

"We've decided to put up a £5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people involved in the break-in at our yard on August 13. Any information passed onto the police will be treated in the strictest of confidence."

PC Kerry Wilson of Torrington police station said anyone with information should contact the station on 08452 777444 or email kerry.wilson@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk and quote log CT/10/355.

"We are in the process of gathering information and are making various inquiries and I would urge anyone who can help us with inquiries to telephone or email in the strictest of confidence," said PC Wilson.