Van filled with drums used to teach people with special needs stolen from Sunderland street

A teacher who helps people with special needs and mental health struggles learn to drum says his livelihood is at risk after thieves drove away his van.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:05 am

Mark Barfoot has been left distraught after his Ford Transit was stolen from The Grove in Ashbrooke, Sunderland, in the early hours of Monday, January 13.

The vehicle was carrying 17 African drums and kit, which Mark uses to teach groups across Wearside.

The 45-year-old, who works for the WEA, was forced to cancel a class for adults with special needs which had been due to be held at the Fulwell Resource Centre after he discovered his vehicle gone.

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Mark Barfoot's van was packed with drums he uses in his classes when it was stolen.

He hopes someone will be able to help trace the white van, registration ND63 YDJ, and the distinctive instruments, with many of them colourful.

CCTV from the area has led him to believe the theft happened at 4.45am.

Northumbria Police is investigating the theft and has asked anyone with information to get in touch with investigators.

Mr Barfoot said: “It’s made me feel unsafe and it’s made me meet that my livelihood is threatened.

The drums are distinctive in their design and decoration.

“I’m just gutted.

“I feel deeply depressed, but also overwhelmed, not just by what’s happened, but also the support shown by people.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At 9.53am on Monday we received a report of a theft of a white Transit van.

“The vehicle was reported to have been stolen at some point between 4pm on Sunday and 9.45am.

Mark Barfoot's drums set up for a previous class.

“Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting reference 241 130120 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”