A TRADER at the Castle Combe racing circuit lost between £10,000 and £15,000 worth of goods in a break-in during Japfest.

Dave Higgins, who travelled from Staffordshire for the event, had spent three hours at the circuit last Friday, setting up his stall ready for the Japanese car show the next day.

He said he was devastated to get up the next morning to find the sides of the marquee had been ripped off and his entire stock of Alpinestars men’s racing wear was gone, as well as about 50 pairs of Vans Chukka brand trainers.

He had been sleeping in a motorhome next to the marquee, but said he had not heard anything over the noise of rain on the roof.

Mr Higgins, 51, said: “I don’t think these thieves realise what they do to people’s lives. They’ve almost bankrupted me.

“It takes a long time to build up a business and they’ve just sliced mine in half in the space of hours. It’s knocked the stuffing out of me.”

An inspector policing the event reported the theft at 6.55am on Saturday and a forensics team was brought in.

The thieves are believed to have gained entry overnight, by scaling the circuit’s 5ft perimeter fence, off the B4039.

Mr Higgins said: “There were people around until about 2.30am, so it must have happened after that.”

He lost 15 coats, which retail at £165 each, plus 150 hoodies, 100 T-shirts, 40 pairs of shorts and 150 baseball caps of various colours.

None of the other traders’ stock was reported stolen.

Police are investigating and appealing for people to get in touch if they saw anyone acting suspiciously, or any vehicles in the area close to Circuit Motors garage, between 2.30am and 6.55am. Witnesses can call PC Danni Swanborough, at the Chippenham police station, on 101.