Callous tool crooks put end to charity’s elderly repairs

Joiner Gary Robertson with the van the tools were stolen from outside his home in Rosewell. Picture: Jane Barlow
Joiner Gary Robertson with the van the tools were stolen from outside his home in Rosewell. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A LEADING charity has had to cancel essential repairs at the homes of elderly city residents after callous crooks swiped over £3000 worth of work tools.

Care and Repair, which provides a handyman service for over-65s and those with special needs, has been forced to cancel the bulk of its jobs after the robbery.

The thieves struck overnight at the Rosewell home of joiner Gary Robertson, 48, forcing their way into his company-branded van and stealing a haul of power drills, electric saws and various other items.Dad-of-one Gary emerged from his Carnethie Street home at 8.20am on July 23 to find his van ransacked.

He said: “It really is the lowest of the low, stealing from a charity. It’s pretty clear from looking at the van that it’s a charity which carries out work for the elderly. I’ve worked for them for over 25 years and never been targeted like this.

“Where I live is a pretty quiet village so I’m thinking that I was targeted. Normally I would carry out around 20 
different jobs a week but all I can do now is assessments as they took all of my tools.

“What is really upsetting is that these guys will just flog these tools for £50 or £100; tools that I have spent over 25 years collecting.”

An example of the vital work the charity carries out is provided by Leith resident Angus Bruce. The charity helped seal the windows of his Kirk Street home for just £25.

He said: “It’s a fantastic service, you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off and they only charge the minimum for materials and labour.

“You’ve got to wonder about what kind of person would steal from a clearly marked charity van. It’s such a shame they now have to cancel jobs.”

Care and Repair Edinburgh is a not-for-profit agency which assists people to repair, improve or adapt their homes so that they can remain independent and out of hospital.

Organisers say the scheme is a low-cost way to make sure patients can return home from hospital instead of becoming “bed blockers”.

Care and Repair administrator Yvonne Georgeson said: “We employ two full-time ­joiners, Gary and Colin, and also operate a trade referral and a handyman service.

“We offer peace of mind to people that they’re not being ripped off.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police in Midlothian are investigating following a break-in and theft from a van in Rosewell. The incident happened sometime between 7.20pm on Monday, July 22 and 8.20am on Tuesday, July 23, outside an address in ­Carnethie Street.

“A quantity of tools were taken from inside the vehicle and inquiries are ongoing to trace those responsible. Anyone who remembers seeing anything suspicious, or who has information that can assist with this investigation is asked to come forward.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com