A NEW cattle mart which is under construction has been targeted by thieves just weeks after work on it began.

Andrew Armstrong, from Darlington Farmers Auction Mart, said he was horrified after learning the new mart, off the A68 at Humbleton Farm, at Burtree Gate, near Heighington, was broken into.

STOLEN: The missing gates along the front of the cattle mart

He said feed barriers from their newly constructed farm shed were stolen, along with approximately 10 field gates of 10 and 12ft in length.

The barriers and gates were taken between 11pm on Thursday and 8am on Friday, according to Mr Armstrong.

"The feed barriers are bespoke – we had them designed by IAE and are unique to our shed.

The barriers were extremely well made and heavy and were bolted together – it will have taken some serious effort to remove them."

A deal to secure the cattle market’s long awaited move out of Darlington town centre was agreed last year.

Mr Armstrong said the move will not be delayed as a result of the theft, but he said there will be some disruption to "day-to-day operations".