POLICE are on the trail of a thief who caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at Lochwinnoch Community Garden.

The crook stole gardening equipment worth an estimated total of £1,000 from a hut and polytunnel at the Church Street site on Tuesday morning.

Footage from a CCTV system covering the area shows a man climbing over the garden wall and forcing his way into the hut at around 1am.

After taking several items, he returned to the scene around an hour later to steal further equipment.

Among the goods taken during the raid were a cultivator, a cordless strimmer, grow lights, electric heaters, a pickaxe and spades.

The theft was reported to police by a 67-year-old committee member of Lochwinnoch Community Garden who discovered the hut's lock had been broken and the polytunnel had been ripped.

Police said the estimated cost of the damage to the garden is £2,000.

Enquiries are ongoing and officers are gathering further CCTV footage from the surrounding area as part of their investigation.

Inspector Allan O'Hare, head of community policing for Renfrewshire, said: "The suspect may be local to the area, as it appears he travelled on foot.

"We would ask Lochwinnoch residents to remain vigilant and to contact us if they discover any gardening equipment discarded around the village.

"Also, please get in touch if you have recently seen any of these items for sale from a suspicious seller."

Anyone with information should call officers on 101.