THIEVES have “ruined” a businessman’s firm — after they made off with two huge cement mixing trucks.

Mark Rushton, owner of Absolute Concrete LTD, said the burglars have crippled his business by stealing the vehicles which the company depends on daily.

He has been forced to pass customers on to rival companies while he arranges for replacement trucks to avoid turning away more business.

Burglars cut through gates of the business in James Street Industrial Estate, Westhoughton, and stole two distinctive cement mixer vehicles — which are both bright yellow and both display the company’s name and contact details in large blue writing.

Mr Ruston, who started the business in 2004, said: “These trucks have been definitely targeted. Someone has seen these trucks and thought “I want one of those”. I found out a few hours after it happened when one of drivers called to say there had been a break-in at the site. I thought it was in the offices but when he said the trucks had gone I couldn’t believe it.

“The recession was impossible but we survived and things were just getting good with the business, we could cope with the work that was coming in. They have ruined me. I will have to borrow money for another truck.”

One of the stolen vehicles was a six wheel DAF truck and one was a Mercedes four wheel truck.

A neighbouring business caught the thieves driving away on camera shortly after 4am on Thursday.

The 47-year-old company boss, from Westhoughton, employs three staff.

Mr Rushton said: “There’s only so much you can do. Somebody probably earned a couple of thousand pounds for this job and they are probably laughing now.

“It is just sick, absolutely horrible what they have done. I have got to go and find another wagon now — they aren’t going to come back. My customers need concrete and if I am not supplying then somebody else will. If I sit down for long I will be shutting shop.

“We work hard and this happens.”

Mr Rushton said someone, perhaps taxi drivers of emergency services staff, must have seen the vehicles being driven around the area early in the morning.

The company is insured but Mr Rushton has decided not to make a claim due to the delay in replacing the vehicles and the risk of the insurance increasing.

He believes the wagons have been stolen to order.

Police confirmed an investigation had been launched.

People with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.