BUNGLING burglars who broke into a family business and stole valuable computer gear also left behind a pair of blue socks – and an open bottle of cider.

The thieves raided family-run Didcot stonemasons Set in Stone sometime between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.

Mark Newman, co-owner of the company which sells memorials, kitchen countertops and stone garden furniture, said he felt ‘invaded’ after the thieves broke in.

He is now appealing for witnesses after the pair of socks was left behind at the crime scene.

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After leaving the office on Rich’s Sidings on Saturday, Mr Newman returned to work on Monday morning to discover the thieves had stolen computer equipment and rummaged through his customer files.

At the time he found a single blue sock in the office, and he has now found a second.

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After reporting the incident to the police, the family took to Facebook in outrage and wrote on the community page Spotted: Didcot calling for their computer equipment to be returned.

They said: “We would like to ask the owner of the blue sock to come forward and speak to us about returning the computer equipment you burgled from us at Set in Stone.

“Not expecting the culprit to be the sharpest tool in the box, because they also left the Kopparberg cider half-drunk with their DNA on. The police have been informed.”

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They added: “We are a new family-run business, trying to get a head start right after Covid-19, we were already facing a difficult time and to have our offices broken into and computer equipment stolen does not help.”

Mr Newman explained that he had ‘stupidly’ left the toilet window open, but believes it would still have been hard to break in as only a foot-wide gap would have been left.

Mr Newman said: “I think it was just an opportunist that just stumbled across it and decided to climb in and have a look.

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“They broke in and nicked a few of our bits of equipment, nothing really of much value but they have made a mess of the office and caused a bit of a problem.”

The business owner also remarked at the thieves’ lack of intelligence because they left a pair of socks behind them on what he believes could have been a drunken gamble.

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He said: “They're not the brightest, because they left their sock in the middle of the office floor as well and a bottle of Kopparberg left outside.

“They had obviously put their drink down and then climbed over the gate. But they have left fingerprints on the bottle as well.

“The forensic team have been out and done their thing and they have sent it off for analysis.

“We found another sock this morning, so we have matching pair. Hopefully, we will get a result.”

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Set in Stone had just started operating again after coronavirus lockdown when the burglary happened.

Mr Newman said: “I feel like we have been invaded, someone has been in our personal space.

“The weird thing is they went through all our customer orders and we sell memorials as well as work tops and they have been though all that.”

He added: “They have messed up our filing system up as well, which is very handy.”

Thames Valley Police said: “We have received a report that sometime between 4pm on Saturday August 1 and 9am on Monday August 3 unknown offenders have broken into a property in Rich’s Sidings, Didcot. Some computer equipment has been taken.

“The investigation has been filed pending further information coming to light and whilst forensic work is ongoing.

“We would ask anyone with information to please come forward and call 101 quoting reference 43200238532.”