BOSSES at two steel firms have condemned the “brass neck” of a criminal gang after falling victim to a £210,000 raid.

Finley Structures and SCH Site Services lost four trailers of construction stock after thieves broke into a compound in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Bosses believe the two-hour operation was pre-planned, with the gang making four separate trips to pick up their 60-tonne haul.

They then closed security gates as they left for the final time.

The Northern Echo understands the steel, which was planned for several projects, including a Birmingham accommodation scheme, was initially moved to Darlington’s Faverdale industrial estate before being shifted elsewhere.

The Northern Echo:

Finley Structures and SCH Site Services Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The steel itself was worth £90,000, and the four trailers it was on were worth £30,000 each.

Julie Raistrick, joint managing director at Finley, which built the steel frame for Newton Aycliffe trainbuilder Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m factory, said CCTV shows the thieves made 25-minute round trips during their attack, which would suggest they knew the area and knew what they wanted.

“The yard is fully fenced off and was locked at the time," she told the Echo.

“We’ve got CCTV that shows two people get out and disappear before the unit drives through the gates.

“They had all the gear and the brass neck to come back four times.

“The first time it took them 11 minutes to hitch up the trailer, the second one was six minutes and the last two were just four minutes.

“If they wanted to chop it up, there would be a lot of effort needed to do so."

Ms Raistrick confirmed loss adjustors have visited the business' bases, and said the main issue will be to get the stock replaced as soon as possible. 

“There’s no client disruption as such, we’ve just got to find a slot to get the work back into fabrication," she added.

“It’s not just us and we want to warn other fabricators on this estate to be on their guard because they could come back and get someone else.”

A spokeswoman for Durham Police confirmed the force was investigating the raid.

She added: “This was a sophisticated, high-value theft and we are carrying out enquiries to identify the suspects.

“We would urge anyone who has any information on the incident to call us on 101, quoting incident number 195 of January 22.

  • Information can also be passed on to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.