A CHIPPENHAM couple could not believe their eyes when they woke up to find 35 plants had been stolen from outside their home.

Now they are asking anyone who has been offered an entire laurel hedge for sale to contact police.

Kevin Dobson and his wife Ann Slator discovered the theft after the three-foot high laurel plants were uprooted from outside their home in Forest Lane between 10pm last Thursday and 6am on Friday.

“I got up to go to work at 6.30am and went out to get in my van and I couldn’t believe it,” said Mr Dobson, 58, who works for Wessex Water.

“I was in disbelief that the entire hedge had gone. We’d put them in about April when they were only 10 inches and spindly little things.

“We got them in and nurtured them through the summer.

“Whoever did it left neat little holes. It must be someone who has got some sort of trenching tool and they must have had a van or pick-up truck.”

The couple are yet to decide whether to replace the stolen plants.

“It will cost us more than £500 to replace them, including buying them and getting someone to put them in,” added Mr Dobson. The couple have lived in Chippenham for 18 years.

“As the police said, the hedge was probably targeted. Someone somewhere locally has wanted a laurel hedge and now they've got ours.

“My wife was upset more than anything. We have looked after these things and someone has taken off with them.

“It would be nice to replace them and it would look nicer with a hedge to cover the fence, but we need to try and find out what happened to the other ones.”

PC Les Fletcher from Chippenham Police, said: “This is a large number of plants to steal.

“If you have been have been offered any to buy then let us know by calling 101."