Leighton Buzzard theft victim starts ‘tool bank’ to help fellow tradesmen hit by crime

A Leighton Buzzard tradesman, who had his equipment stolen, is starting up a ‘tool bank’ to help other unlucky victims.

Electrician Steve McGiff, 41, was at a job in High Street, Eaton Bray at 5.05pm on July 16, when he says a group of around four men broke into his locked van and stole his power tools.

Damage to Steve's van.

Damage to Steve's van.

Luckily, kind local businessman, Steve Pospisil, of SMP Gas & Heating Ltd, heard what happened and started an online fundraising page so Steve could buy some new tools quickly.

Now, as a thank you, and because tool theft is a problem in the area, Mr McGiff says he wishes to start a ‘tool bank’ and pass on the emergency tools he buys to the next person in need (after he has finished with them).

Mr McGiff, of Steve McGiff Electrical Services, said: “£5,000 worth of tools were taken. I’m getting married in a couple of weeks so anything spare had gone on the wedding.

“When I heard about the Go Fund Me Page I was surprised. I’m very humble; vans get broken into all the time.

Axe and Compass CCTV. *The LBO has had to blur faces and number plates for legal reasons.

Axe and Compass CCTV. *The LBO has had to blur faces and number plates for legal reasons.

“I’m a proud man and it wasn’t something I was expecting. I’d like to give back to those who have supported me.”

Mr Pospisil, of SMP Gas & Heating Ltd, said: “I recently met Steve and he passed some work my way. When I heard what had happened I just wanted to do whatever I could to help.

“When you’re self employed and this happens, you can’t work; he has a family to support and a house to run, so being unable to work is unthinkable.

“I’m hoping to raise a bit to help him get some replacement tools.

CCTV from NISA, Eaton Bray. (The shop opposite where the incident took place.)

CCTV from NISA, Eaton Bray. (The shop opposite where the incident took place.)

“We have already raised £445, I’m hoping that other tradespeople will see this and want to help, too.”

Mr McGiff alleges that the thieves drove off with his tools in a black Mazda 3, and says there are claims on social media that they also stole from Dunstable, Stoke Hammond, Great Holm, and Hockliffe during the same evening.

He says the driver had a pink T-shirt, and one of the other men was stocky, with his hair shaved at the sides and with tight curls on top.

Steve said: “I had pulled up at a job and taken some tools inside the house. My power tools were in the van.

CCTV from the Axe and Compass.

CCTV from the Axe and Compass.

“They must have used a screwdriver or something to get in. I heard shouting and screaming, someone saying ‘they’ve taken you’re stuff, they’ve taken you’re stuff’.

“A woman outside said the men lunged at her when she was shouting and she backed off.

“I went outside and they were just getting in the car and sped off.”

Steve also believes the men were seen snooping around The Axe and Compass, Heath and Reach, later that evening. He has CCTV from several locations, but says the police have told him they have had to mark the case ‘pending’, because it is not clear enough for their investigations. However, he says they told him they will keep the images on file.

A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman, said: “We have followed up all available lines of enquiry, but if new information is received, we can review the matter. If anyone has information, please call us on 101, quoting reference 40/40981/19.”

To make a donation go to www.gofundme.com/f/steve-mcgiff-replacement-tools?fbclid=IwAR3VObifrBD002xW2oNr5g-m-Yr_3azG7fQ98X73S1ioaM9gk3EMuKbdXLI