POLICE are hunting for crooks after an arborist's pick-up truck was stolen and stripped for parts during the night. 

The Toyota Hilux was nabbed at around 9.41pm on Thursday from outside a property in the West Sussex village of Ashington, only to be discovered around a mile away in a field on Friday morning. 

Owned by Ansell Arboriculture, the vehicle had been ransacked by the unknown offenders, with the items stolen estimated to be worth four figures. Damage to the pick-up and the arb business is likely to stretch to the tens of thousands. 

Forestry Journal: Officers have carried out forensic investigations into the theft Officers have carried out forensic investigations into the theft (Image: Supplied)

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: "Police were contacted after a vehicle was reported stolen from Billingshurst Road, Ashington.

"The incident is believed to have occurred sometime after 9.30pm on Thursday, February 16, and was reported to police about 7.36am on Friday, February 16.

"The vehicle was discovered abandoned nearby a short time later and has been recovered for forensic investigations.

Forestry Journal:

"Anyone with any information about the incident, including dash cam or CCTV, is asked to report it online or call 101, quoting serial 218 of 16/02." 

Thieves have been known to target vehicles and machinery used by arborists and foresters. 

READ MORE: How common a problem is crime in the arb world - and what can be done about it?

Each year, it is estimated between 800 and 1,100 all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are stolen across the UK, with criminals targeting rural communities before quickly selling on stolen equipment and machinery. A tiny part can make a big impact – fuelling the increase in theft of ATVs.

Several companies have released solutions to try to tackle the problem, including ATVTrac, Datatag, and UWatch. 

Writing about rural crime in essentialARB last year, Wiltshire Dave said: "Get your kit secure, get it insured and spend what you can afford on anything modern that helps.

"You’ll be glad of it one day."