THIEVES have stolen 16 chainsaws worth £8,200 from a business premises in the New Forest.

A group of masked men targeted SPG Mowers in Shirley Holms Road, Boldre.

A green Land Rover with a white or beige roof was reversed into metal shutter doors to gain access to the building.

The vehicle was later found in Burton, Dorset, but had been set on fire in a bid to destroy any forensic evidence that could be used to trace the culprits.

The theft occurred last Friday at about 2.45am.

A police spokesman said the crime was carried out by three men who were wearing dark clothing and had their faces covered.

He added that officers were anxious to hear from anyone who had been offered a a brand new Echo or Husqvarna chainsaw for sale.

Anyone with information should ring Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44180071186, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.