Monday, 17 December 2018

Worker of the year finalist has £2,000 tools stolen

AN electrician says he is in “disbelief” after tools worth more than £2,000 were stolen from his van.

AN electrician says he is in “disbelief” after tools worth more than £2,000 were stolen from his van.

Thieves broke the lock on Mark Hughes’ Peugeot Expert as it was parked outside his home in Greys Road, Henley, at about 1am on Thursday last week.

Their haul included power tools and electrical testing equipment.

Mr Hughes, 29, who started Current Electrical Solutions two years ago, discovered the break-in later when he was about to take his girlfriend Lottie Wight to the station.

He said: “As we walked towards the van I noticed a box on the ground. I picked it up to put back in the van and noticed all my tools and testing equipment were gone.

“The lock on the double doors at the back had been removed. The thieves must have got in with a crowbar or screwdriver.

“My first thoughts were disbelief and shock — I thought we lived in a nice area. Then I realised all the things I needed to get sorted and had to cancel jobs.” Mr Hughes, who was a finalist in this year’s Worker of the Year competition, said: “I realised I would be letting down clients and I hate doing that.

“I had to get on the phone and apologise profusely. They were very understanding but I’m only a small business and I lost two days’ trading because of some idiots out for a quick buck.

“I work for myself so all the stuff is my own. I had to empty my savings account to buy some new tools so I’m effectively not getting paid this month.”

The thieves stole three drills, drill bits, transformers and a site radio and used one of Mr Hughes’ groundsheets to wrap everything in.

He said: “The police said there were some people released from prison recently who are prolific burglars but they aren’t sure it was them.

“I heard about another local tradesman who had his van broken into recently and several sheds have had equipment stolen from them too.

“It’s going to take until next week to get the lock on the van door properly fixed, so at the moment I’m having to open it through the side door using some string.

“I think it would be very easy to pick the lock with a screwdriver so I’m taking my tools in every night.”

Mr Hughes, who came third in the competition final in Reading last month, added: “I tend to park my van round the front of my house where there’s more traffic because I thought it was safe.

“I was perhaps a bit naive not bringing my tools inside every night but after a long day’s work sometimes you don’t want to.

“One of the neighbours heard a commotion between 12.30am and 1am but thought it was just drunk people and didn’t get up.”

Anyone with information should call Thames Valley Police via the non-emergency number of 101 or speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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