A BUILDER’S van full of his tools was stolen from his driveway and a woman’s purple bike and screwdriver left in its place.

Peter Anderson had his silver Renault company van stolen from his driveway on Herschell Road, Leigh, in the middle of the night.

The 45-year-old boss at building company Cooper Anderson Industries said: “I woke up about four in the morning when I heard banging outside. I checked out the back and saw nothing, so assumed it was a gate or the wind.

“When my wife looked outside in the morning, the van was gone, and there was a screwdriver left on the driveway and a woman’s purple bike just dumped there in it’s place.

“When I realised how many of my tools were taken I felt absolutely numb. My chop saw, cement mixer, plumbing tools, everyday tools and more was all taken, thousands of pounds worth just gone overnight. And my van. I dread to think how much it will come to when I’ve added it all up.

“It was lucky the next day I worked with someone who had tools, or I’d be absolutely stuffed and wouldn’t be able to work.

“Police are going to send forensics round to test for handprints on the bike, but we’re not holding our breath because it rained.

“This will impact me big time, it’s just extra grief I don’t need. It’s my main mode of transport, which I use everyday.

“I’m absolutely stunned. Even now I’m annoyed that I didn’t go out when I heard something, but you never think it will happen to you until it does.”

The Anderson’s family car was also broken into. Peter continued: “Thank god they didn’t take anything, but they had a rummage about- the glove compartment was open and the manual papers were everywhere. It’s an invasion of privacy.”

A spokesman from Essex Police said: “We received a report at around 7am yesterday about the theft of a van from an address in Herschell Road. Anyone with information call police on 101 quoting crime reference 42/64250/19.”