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Wednesday, 16 October 2019
A TRADESMAN who lost £10,000 worth of tools when thieves broke into his van was moved to tears when two strangers who read his story in the Henley Standard offered him £600 towards replacements.
Matthew Martin, of Lea Road, Sonning Common, had parked his Ford Transit outside a relative’s house in Luker Avenue, Henley, when the criminals struck in the early hours of September 12.
They made off with nail guns, drills, saws, grinders and other power tools as well as hand tools.
Mr Martin, a married father-of-four and carpenter, plumber and plasterer, has had to start saving for replacements as they weren’t covered by either his home contents insurance or his employer’s policy.
His story struck a chord with Henley Standard reader Richard Parry as his son-in-law, who lives in Leeds, is a carpenter and joiner and has lost tools in several burglaries.
Mr Parry, 70, a retired bank manager, contacted him through the paper to offer him £500.
Fellow reader Pamela Cook gave £100 to an online appeal launched by Mr Martin’s wife Abby.
Mr Martin said: “I didn’t know what to say to Richard, to be perfectly honest. He said he understood how hard it was and it made me break down.
“I was still speechless when the cheque came in the post the next day and I still haven’t cashed it.
“I’m very, very grateful because I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve had a few more friends and family giving me money so I’ve managed to grab a few more bits and pieces but obviously it’s nothing like what I had before.
“It’s a bit of an uphill struggle as I can’t accept the jobs I want but I’m lucky to have a supportive family behind me. I’m so thankful to the two people who’ve helped as it is a massive silver lining and it’s made a massive difference.”
Mr Parry said: “I know how expensive these break-ins can be — when you’re talking about professional tools there are many, many thousands of pounds to be lost and I wanted to help.
“He was very grateful for the offer and I was just glad to be able to help get him back on the road.
“After his first break-in, my son-in-law had extra locks put on his side door but then he fell victim to a second series of thefts where they were using angle grinders to remove the entire side panel.
“He’s now fortunate to have access to a safe storage space but that’s not always an option and people like Mr Martin are hit very hard.
“It’s so sad because those tools are built to last and very expensive but they’re sold for nowhere near their value because the thieves just want to get rid of them quickly.”
Ms Cook said: “I have never met Matthew but I was gutted to read his story and I wanted to help as he seems like a hard-working, kind family man who did not deserve this.”
Police are still investigating and anyone with information should call 101. To make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/tradesman-thief-victim-tool-fund
03 October 2019
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