THE owners of a well-known Bury business have branded thieves who broke into their premises as “despicable”.

Raiders targeted Peter Bowman Towing Centre on Mason Street at around 7pm last Saturday, breaking through steel gates and a fire door before taking a new Ford Ranger.

Co-owner Julia Glover said the break-in took place during broad daylight and added she hoped there were a number of witnesses as a result.

“We fit tow bars and service caravans so the workshop often has vehicles in it,” said Julia. “We close at noon on a Saturday afternoon and at around 7pm we got a call from our alarm company to say there was an intruder inside.

“They had cut through a chained gate and broke through a fire door using a crowbar and probably a still saw.

“They then got into the workshop and pulled up the shutters so they could get the vehicles out.”

The intruders escaped with one of two new Ford Rangers which were being worked on before they were disturbed by arriving police officers.

“Unfortunately they also went around the building and kicked in and smashed up a number of doors into the office and shop,” said Julia. “Perhaps they were looking for cash or the keys to the vehicles.

“There was lots of internal damage but nothing else was taken.”

Peter Bowman set up his Towing Centre in 1979 on the site at Mason Street and along with his father Stan, they built the business supplying and fitting towbars before also providing caravan and trailer servicing and roof boxes and motor home servicing.

“My husband and I took over the business about seven years ago and we’ve never had anything like this,” she added. “You are left wondering if they will try it again but thankfully the police have registration numbers because one of the companies down the road picked them up on their CCTV.

“We are trying hard to just carry on as normal but it’s the fact that people think they can do this, make off with a new car and help themselves to something that isn’t theirs.

“We’ve worked really hard to build a business and they just come in and do that - it’s despicable.”

Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 5757 or 101. Alternatively details can be passed via the live web chat function at Details can also be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.