BRAZEN thieves broke into the yard of an Andover-based transport company and stole engines from two parked vans, police have confirmed.

Officers say the culprits struck MF Transport, on Farm Road, near Abbots Ann, shortly before midnight on Thursday 18 May.

The group removed valuable parts from two parked Mercedes vans, including both engines and gearboxes.

On one of the vehicles, the thieves stripped almost the whole front part, even taking away the front bumper and headlights.

Employee Steve Evans, who discovered the vehicles, told the Advertiser he was shocked by the raid.

He said: "It's quite unbelievable.

"I spoke to one person and they said it would take a qualified Mercedes garage around six hours to do that.

"They did it in about an hour and a half.

"They certainly came prepared."

Mr Evans says the company has been raided three times in 12 months.

He believes the culprits may have been involved in the previous incidents.

Asked the impact on the business, he said: "We are just a small transport business.

"The insurance company has already told us that the two vans are beyond economical repair.

"As an employee my concern is if the boss says he can't run the business anymore and I'd be out of a job.

"Luckily we take some of the vans home. But that one (one of the vans damaged) was our flagship."

Police are now investigating the raid.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "We received a report of a theft from a vehicle overnight on Thursday 18 May.

"The incident took place between 11.50pm and 1.50am the following morning.

"A number of vehicle parts were stolen including the engines of two Mercedes Sprinter vans.

"Anyone with information should call 101, quoting the reference: 44170187653."