A farmer says he feels as if his "heart has been ripped out" after a £12,000 tractor was stolen just three days after he spent his life savings to buy it.

Mark Johnson, 43 of Priory Pond in Kelvedon Hatch, near Ongar, is following his dream of running a sustainable farm, but has been left in despair by the theft last night.

The burglary happened at 1am and Mr Johnson believes the burglars used explosives to break the lock on the container where the tractor was stored.

The thieves are then believed to have made their getaway with a trailer along Ongar Road.

Mr Johnson bought the land in October with a view to running his own smallholding.

He had only bought the vehicle on Friday and was due to sign the insurance papers this morning.

Despite owning the farm, Mr Johnson still works as a charity worker in London and had plans to invite troubled young people to learn about sustainable living and take part in activities at the farm.

Since the burglary, his plans have had to be put on hold and he may have to give up on the farm. 

Mr Johnson said: “It feels like my heart’s been ripped out. It’s been my dream to run my own farm. I borrowed £18,000 off my mum to buy the tractor and fund my project. Now I feel completely depressed.

“I am gutted. Lots of people want to be successful financially but I am the complete opposite, I just want to be sustainable, but how can I establish my farm when everything is prone to disappear?

“It was a dream I wanted to see all the way through, but now it’s been ripped away.”

Police are currently investigating the incident.