Tree surgeon David Oliver’s business was brought to a standstill when thieves cleared him out of the equipment he needs to do his work.

The gang struck overnight on Thursday and forced a steel security cabinet in a locked shed to steal 13 chain saws and hedge cutters.

They also stole a winch from the front of his Land Rover by removing the bumper assembly.

It meant neither Mr Oliver or his three full time staff could do any work until Tuesday when he had managed to borrow equipment from others in the business.

Mr Oliver says that in the five years he and his teacher wife Carol and their three children have lived at Barrow Farm in Bath Road, Marlborough, they have been targeted by thieves on at least 13 occasions.

The 44-year-old said the family lived in fear of more raids and were frightened to go out in case they struck again.

He said he had tackled the thieves on several occasions only to be threatened by them. Once his CCTV system recorded one of the gang driving a lorry at him when he attempted to write down its registration number.

Talking about the latest raid, Mr Oliver said: “They have left me with nothing. I can’t even go to work.

“I have been working 12 to 14 hour days to fight off the effects of the recession and this morning I said to my wife that we had finally turned the corner and I went outside and found we had been robbed again.”

He added: “The police have offered to help each time and have given advice about improving security which we have followed.”

A police spokesman said they were aware that Mr Oliver had suffered thefts of equipment going back over a number of years.

“There have been police interventions in each case and crime prevention advice given,” said the spokesman. “The vulnerability of the site is recognised and does receive regular patrol attention.”