In the region of £12,000 worth of equipment has been stolen following a break-in at Falmouth's mortuary overnight.

Thieves cut through a padlock and chain to get access to the site at Swanpool before smashing the security lights and breaking into the mortuary to steal items, along with equipment that was outside.

They took the burial trailer, a small ride-on mower and a Husqvarna mower, two pressure washers, a trailer lock and a selection of hand tools, both belonging to the council and staff members.

Number plates with the registration CN17 CVF were also stolen.

Simon Penna, grounds and facilities manager for Falmouth Town Council, said that after speaking with neighbours in the area it is thought the break-in took place between 3am and 4am this morning, due to one of the residents' dogs breaking out barking around this time.

Mr Penna said: "We're extremely upset about it. It's hard enough to operate in this climate, without this sort of thing going on at this time.

"We're just trying to look after Falmouth residents and do the best for them, and this is what happens."

Equipment is currently spread between two sites: the new cemetery and a depot in the old cemetery, the latter of which was broken into.

It is the second time this year that council equipment has been stolen, after a bowser was taken from the council's compound at Falmouth Lawn Cemetery back in January.

Read more: Falmouth Town Council equipment stolen from cemetery

Town clerk Mark Williams said that after the last break in security measures had been stepped up heavily and it was clear that this was a planned operation, describing the thieves as "very thorough".

He said that the council still had enough essential equipment to continue its cemetery services, but that it might be forced to look at hiring equipment in the interim to continue ground services.

Mr Williams said: "All of this comes at a cost to the taxpayer.

"There's thousands of pounds worth of kit there. Hopefully that's all covered by insurance and we can get back on track. If it isn't, there's capital costs we have to find.

"It's frustrating."

The council is now hoping that people will get in contact with police if they saw or heard anything unusual happening at the cemetery last night, or in the run up, or who may have noticed a vehicle towing a trailer with no number plate on.

People are also asked to keep an eye out for the stolen equipment being offered for sale.

Anyone with information can contact police by calling 101 and quoting crime reference number CR/039452/20.

There is a separate crime reference number for the staff's personal equipment that was stolen, which included power tools and a bluetooth motorcycle headset and speaker. The reference for these is CR/039461/20.