Sun, 21 August 2022 at 6:32 pm
A gang of masked thieves have been caught on CCTV breaking into an alpaca farm and stealing a machete that is 100 years old.
The group targeted a mobile home on Bonnington Farm near Ashford, Kent, in the middle of the night.
It was the second raid on the farm in the past year, and owners Mark Homewood and Tess Wilde have been left living in fear.
The couple are trying to start their own small farm, following in the footsteps of his grandparents.
The farm has 14 alpacas and four baby alpacas, while there are plans to bring in poultry, sheep and bees.
The thieves broke into the farm at about 3.25am last Wednesday, breaking a lock on a gate and backing in their own truck.
The group of three roamed around the site wearing balaclavas, with one of them carrying a tool of some kind.
They smashed their way through a door to access the mobile home and searched its kitchen using torches.
The thieves made off with a century-old machete used by Mr Homewood’s grandparents to prune apple trees.
“The machete was of great sentimental value,” he said.
“My grandparents used to own orchards and it was well-used by them pruning the apple trees.”
Mr Homewood and Ms Wilde bought the property in 2020 during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were hoping to continue passing it down the generations,” he said. “Unfortunately, the fear of crime is beginning to take a toll on us.”
They now face carrying out an expensive clean-up operation after the burglary, in which the thieves ransacked the outbuilding, which is currently used for storage.
“Thankfully, we were not inside,” said Mr Homewood.
“They went through the whole place, opened every drawer. From what we can tell they didn’t steal much more than a pot of Hibiscrub [a skin cleanser] and a machete.
“We have been left with thousands of pounds’ worth of damage to clear up.”
Mr Homewood said: “The last time we were targeted by a criminal was 26 August last year when they cut through the fence and left it wide open. Fortunately, none of the alpacas escaped.”
Kent Police said it is investigating.