Credit: Nottinghamshire police

A logging company are offering a £10,000 reward for any information on the ‘malicous, mindless thugs’ who caused £700,000 worth of damage to its equipment.

Two specialist cutting and sorting machines were targeted at the Osberton Estate in Worksop, where they had been completing clearance work at the site.

Four large batteries were stolen before the machines were deliberately set on fire overnight on 25 – 26 May.

The director of the Newark based company, Donna Robinson, said: “When I found out what had happened I just wanted to cry. It was just such a terrible shock for us – I really have no words to describe how angry and upset I was about it.

“Stealing the batteries and putting us out of action for days was bad enough, but to follow it up by setting fire to the machines as well was just wanton, mindless thuggery.

“I just can’t understand why somebody would want to do that.”

The damaged and stolen machinery will be far from simple to replace – exacerbating the problem for the business.

She added: “When people read stories like this they may just assume that we claim the money back on insurance and replace the machines, but it really isn’t that simple.

“The reality is that many different people have suffered as a result of this – from the lads on the site who are now unable to work and the landowner – to the saw mill that’s waiting for a delivery.

“These machines are also very specialist and we face a considerable wait for others to be pre-ordered and delivered. It’s not like replacing a car with another one.

“As a result we’ve had to pay out immediately to buy some second-hand machines to use in the meantime. We’ll also be looking at a considerable rise in our insurance costs next year.

“These are huge costs for us but ones that we are now big enough to survive. Had this happened to us when we were first starting out it probably would have finished us off – all because at least one person decided to do this to us.

Inspector Neil Bellamy, district commander for Bassetlaw, said: “This was a mindless attack that has had very significant consequences for a local business.

“Our investigation is ongoing and we are determined to track down whoever is responsible and are appealing for information from anyone who may have information about what happened.

“I believe that somebody in the community may know something about this incident and that this generous reward offer will inspire them to come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting incident 109 of 26 May.