Spate of van break-ins in Royston leaves family short for second time

Joe Charter's van has been broken into twice. Picture: Kirsty Charter

Joe Charter's van has been broken into twice. Picture: Kirsty Charter - Credit: Archant

A Royston builder has had all of his tools stolen in a van break-in for the second time – exactly a year on from the first theft.

The Charter family mum Kirsty, eight-year-old Ben, builder dad Joe and five-year-old Esther say th

The Charter family mum Kirsty, eight-year-old Ben, builder dad Joe and five-year-old Esther say the impact of having tools stolen is huge, and that when the same thing happened last year it had financial repercussions. Picture: Kirsty Charter - Credit: Archant

Joe Charter was one of many victims of a spate of vehicle break-ins in the town on Monday night, and now has to find funds to replace his tools in order to work.

Joe – who is self employed as a kitchen and bathroom fitter, and does general building work – had parked his van outside his house in Icknield Walk when it was broken into.

Wife Kirsty told the Crow: “It’s devastating, my husband was left with one screwdriver and a drill to work with – he obviously couldn’t go to work and now has to try and find the money to replace his tools.

“It’s literally a year to the day since it happened to my husband, and it has a massive impact on us and our young children.

“We understand police are pushed, but having a police station in the town while these horrible people spend four hours breaking into vans, and then having no help from the police force is really ridiculous.

“I’m sure all the local traders are considering taking things into their own hands if nobody can help.”

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This is the second time the family has been targeted, with the first break-in happening exactly a year ago.

“We’ve got two children and I’m a part-time hairdresser, so we haven’t got a lot of spare cash,” Kirsty continued.

“The insurance to get this covered is expensive and if you claim on it, it bumps up the cost even more. Last year wasn’t easy financially after this happened.”

Kirsty explained that usually Joe takes his tools into their home straight after work, but hadn’t on this occasion. When he returned to his van a few hours later the tools were gone.

Other victims on Monday evening included van owners in the vicinity of Studlands Rise, Orchard Way, Burns Road, Wordsworth Close and Weston Avenue.

A police spokeswoman said: “Police received a report of three offenders seen gaining entry to a silver van in Wordsworth Close just before 8.40pm.

“The offenders were interrupted by members of the public and made off in a black Ford Mondeo. A tool box, disc cutter and radio were stolen from the van. Our crime reference is 41/9251/19.

“Police also received a call just before 9.30pm to reports that two men had been seen in Weston Avenue attempting to break into a van and had been chased off by a man from Weston Avenue into Orchard Road.

“The offenders are described as two white men, one with a bag, dressed all in black. Our reference is ISR 835 of January 28.

Police community support officer Penelope Tomsett said: “Monday evening in the vicinty of Burns Road, Studlands Rise and Orchard Way, there were mutiple thefts from vehicles.

“A black Ford Mondeo was seen with three occupants, and we believe these persons may have been involved.

“If you can provide any information to any of these incidents please call 101.

“Please ensure that vehicles are locked and you do not leave valuables on show. If you are a van owner, take tools indoors.”