THIEVES have stolen months of memories from a plucky pensioner walking the country to help the homeless.
Andy Peddle, 70, is doing a trek around the UK to raise money for the Salvation Army.
But his trip to Sunderland was marred when yobs broke into his camper van and stole three cameras – one containing photos from the last five months of his 18-month sponsored walk.
Andy was asleep in the city-centre Travelodge last Tuesday when thieves broke into the white van – clearly emblazoned with the Salvation Army logo.
They made off with three cameras, an iPod, recording equipment and damaged the vehicle’s locks and ignition after they tried to start it.
Andy arrived in Sunderland just a day before the break-in, when he visited the Salvation Army’s Southwick Community Project in Shakespeare Street.
The busy pensioner spent the following day at the Stadium of Light, the Salvation Army Citadel Corps in Hendon, Salvation Army Seaham Harbour Corps, Millfield, Monkwearmouth and visited the charity’s homeless hostel, Swan Lodge in the city centre.
He usually sleeps in his van, but was gifted a night in the hotel by a well-wisher.
He has called for his missing memory card to be returned, but insists the theft has not left him with a negative opinion of Sunderland.
He said: “We will keep going, no matter what, but it has slowed us down a little while we talked to the police.
“The sad thing is five months of photos were on one of the cameras. We are obviously going to miss the camera, but you can get those back on insurance eventually.
“When you are on a walk like this you have to expect things like this to happen, whatever they may be.
“I had wonderful day in Sunderland which will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Having started his epic journey on May 16 in the Shetland Islands, Andy is walking to 130 Salvation Army citadels, hostels, charity shops and every league football club throughout the UK.
When he arrives at each Salvation Army base, he will give a talk about the issues of human trafficking and homelessness.
Anyone who would like to support Andy, from Buckinghamshire, should visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/walk.
Police confirmed three vehicles had been broken at the Travelodge in Low Row and officers were waiting for details of what has been stolen.
Anyone with information can contact Northumbria Police on 101, or Andy directly on 07940530360.