East Lothian joiner 'overwhelmed' as friends raise cash to replace £15k worth of stolen tools

An East Lothian joiner is ‘completely overwhelmed’ as friends and former customers have donated more than £3,000 after the van containing all his tools was stolen.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 25th October 2019, 9:34 am

The van was stolen on Saturday night along with almost £15,000 worth of tools from Nathan Thomas’ home in Haddington.

Mr Thomas, 30, and his partner Trudi were watching television inside and heard nothing as the van was taken from the driveway, but CCTV shows the theft occurred around 11pm.

“The van was stolen right under our nose, they must have rolled it down the drive,” said Mr Thomas.

Nathan Thomas with some of the tools which were later stolen.

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Every single one of Mr Thomas’ tools was in the van, meaning that they are not covered by insurance as most insurers require tools to be kept in the house overnight.

“It just isn’t feasible to take the tools out of the van every night, and there’s nowhere to store them in the house,” Mr Thomas said.

The ‘horrendous’ loss left Mr Thomas £15,000 out of pocket and unable to work without the necessary tools.

With no insurance, Mr Thomas initially thought his company, Thomas & Co. Joinery, would be finished.

The van stolen with all Nathan Thomas' tools inside.

But a friend stepped in with the suggestion to set up a crowdfunding page, and Mr Thomas has been ‘blown away’ by the response.

“The support is overwhelming, I never thought I would be able to get this much back,” he said.

“I worked really hard to pay off the van and build up my tools and now it’s all gone, just like that. Everything adds up, not just the tools but also having to pay to change the locks for any keys that were in the van, things like that.”

Mr Thomas has been a joiner for 12 years but set up his own company almost exactly a year ago.

About half the value of the tools stolen were purchased in the last year since the foundation of Thomas & Co.

Mr Thomas felt ‘awkward’ crowdfunding for money, and has not asked any of his customers directly.

But many happy former customers have given donations, including one ‘happy customer’ who gave £750.

The donor, who wanted to remain anonymous, wrote only that Mr Thomas is the ‘best joiner ever’ on his fundraising page.

“When I saw that donation I could have dropped,” said Mr Thomas, who knows who they are.

Local businesses have also supported Mr Thomas, and Howdens joinery in Dunbar lent him tools until he can replace his own, which he plans to begin doing next week.

One anonymous well-wisher