A Sunderland gardener who helps elderly people has been left devastated after tools worth £1,500 were stolen in a burglary.
Scott Andrews, from Ryhope, has 67 mostly elderly clients whom he charges knockdown prices to tend to their gardens.
But last Friday he fell asleep after a long week’s work only to wake up in the early hours of Saturday to be told his two storage sheds had been broken into.
The 55-year-old was horrified to learn that the tools he has built up over the years had all gone.
And when he called his insurance company he learned the thefts from his sheds were not covered.
Scott said: “I fell asleep on the sofa on the Friday night and I remember the dog nudging me at 2am, but I went back to sleep.
These so-called human beings, in one fell swoop, had taken my livelihood away from me so they can sell all my gear instead of working for a livingScott Andrews
“At 6am my neighbour told me that somebody had broken into my two garden sheds.”
The thieves made off with two petrol lawnmowers, three petrol strimmers and a petrol bush cutter, together worth £1,500.
They had taken the hinges off the main shed to gain entry and snapped the lock on his other storage shed.
He said: “These so-called human beings, in one fell swoop, had taken my livelihood away from me so they can sell all my gear instead of working for a living.
“It took me years to collect my tools.
“I am happy doing my customers gardens at prices OAPs can afford – I only charge £7 an hour.
“It devastated me for two days. On Saturday and Sunday I had nothing to eat.
“It’s yet another crime committed by people who have no care or feelings.”
However, Scott, who is a familiar face in his local community, said he had been humbled by kind words and donations from strangers, including a petrol mower from a woman in Bishop Auckland.
And he has praised the police as ‘brilliant’, having fitted new locks and a sensor alarm, but he admitted: “I’m nervous about putting stuff in there now.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “Police are carrying out enquiries after gardening equipment was stolen from a shed at an address in Wilkinson Terrace between 8pm on Friday, August 11, and 6.15am on Saturday, August 12.
“Any witnesses are asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101, quoting reference 286 of 120817 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“Anyone buying second hand gardening equipment should be vigilant and check the origin is genuine, if in any doubt ring police.”
An online donation page, at www.gofundme.com/scottbear to help Scott replace his tools, has so far raised almost £400.