BUILDERS say crooks who broke in to their site have left them with a £50,000 bill.
Aaron Willis, a carpenter from Fratton, said he was stunned when he arrived for work and saw the trail of destruction at the development in Clarendon Road, Southsea.
The houses and flats were left ransacked, with expensive power tools taken, sinks ripped off the walls – and even the kettle stolen.
The intruders broke locks and smashed down doors to get into the development, which is next to the former Coastguard Tavern pub.
But thieves got more than they bargained for when they returned the following night for more valuables.
Mr Willis was lying in wait and called the police as they climbed the scaffolding.
The crooks, a group of three men, ran away as they heard the sirens.
The 25-year-old said: ‘Basically they have cut all the wires out of the walls. They have pulled all the sinks from the walls.
‘They have unscrewed the copper piping from the back of the sinks.
‘They have taken drills, hands tools, and cut the cords on power tools.
‘They were after scrap and tools and have taken a little bit of everything.
‘They have ruined a few people’s livelihoods.
‘With Christmas just gone and getting over the recession, there’s a bit of work about now. People have gone to work and found they have got no tools to do anything. It’s quite sickening.’
The break-in means the entire development will need to be rewired and have new bathrooms fitted. Mr Willis said the cost of repairing the damage and the loss of equipment was up to £50,000.
Police are investigating the break-in last Tuesday night and the attempted break-in on Wednesday.
Mr Willis said he did not get a good look at the men, but they appeared to be about 19 or 20 years of age.
He added: ‘The police reckon it must have been four or five people on the first night.
‘With the amount of stuff they have taken it must have been an all-night job.
‘But nobody in the surrounding area seems to have heard anything.’
Anyone with information about the burglary should call the police on 101.