THIEVES stole £9,000 worth of tools from a mechanic’s van... all within the space of four minutes.

By the time Lee Boxhall had popped into Homebase on London Road, Basildon, and came back out, thieves had ransacked his Volkswagen Transporter, stealing 20 years worth of collected tools.

The 41-year-old said: “I literally parked my van outside of Homebase at around midday, ran inside, picked up a light and came straight out.

“It was within this four minutes that they’d opened the side door with a screwdriver and taken my toolbox, spanners, a £4,000 scanner, screwdrivers, DeWalt power tools, spring clamps, drills, a radio and more. Around £9,000 worth just gone.

“What’s worse is I didn’t even realise until I got to my first job of the day. My heart sank when I saw all my tools had gone – I had to turn around and apologise to the client that I couldn’t do it.

“You never think it will happen to you until it does. I was in so much shock. They literally turned the whole van completely upside down.

“It’s been so overwhelming. I keep asking myself why do I deserve this. From my whole 25 year career working on cars, I’ve never known anything like this to happen.”

Lee’s friends and family have banded together to help raise money for some new tools so he can get back to work, with a customer of his even setting up a JustGiving page to help him out.

Mr Boxhall, from Grays, has insisted that any donations over the £5,000 mark will be donated to Treetops School, where his son attends.

The mobile mechanic continued: “It’s been really hard as I’m self-employed and rely on this to support my son and family.

“We use this business to keep ourselves afloat and without the tools, I’m out of work.

“Luckily I have such supportive people around me, who are trying to get together enough donations so I can get back on the job, which won’t happen overnight. All the rest that’s left will go towards my sons school.

“It’s those people that restore my faith in humanity, others can be so ruthless.

“I ask anyone with information from the incident which happened last Thursday to come forward and report it to the police.”

A spokesperson from Essex Police, said: “Anyone with information or who witnessed the reported incident should call Basildon Police Station.”

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