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DIY SOS targeted by thieves

Photo: Simon Jones - The Sun

£5,000 worth of tools were taken as workmen helped make a family home fit for a seriously ill tot - all while the cameras were still rolling.

This is the second time callous crooks have ransacked a van belonging to one of the show's regular volunteers in a “shameless” attack.

The lowlifes broke into workman Billy Byrne’s van as he toiled on the Nick Knowles-fronted programme, which helps needy families with crucial building work.

At the time the team was building an extension for Mike and Chantal Newcombe’s home in Chislehurst, Kent, so their two-year-old Arlo could live there.

The youngster - the only child in Britain with a rare lung condition - has to be supported by an oxygen supply around the clock.

In the first years of his life had to live in Kings College Hospital's intensive care ward.

The lowlife crooks forced open the rear doors of Billy’s white Renault Traffic before pinching valuable power tools and even his wellington boots.

Incredibly they struck despite cameras in the house filming the work being carried out inside.

In April ex-Soldier Paul Manson, another regular volunteer workman for the show, was targeted by thieves before he made his way to help on another episode in Hessel, East Yorkshire.

Devastated Paul opened his van to find thousands of pounds worth of gear gone.

Star Knowles, 56, took to social media yesterday to blast the latest robbery.

He wrote: “Upset site in Chislehurst. Our Billy’s had his van broken into & he’s lost all his tools, damage to the van, so many good people here gutted.”

“He’s very upset bless him. £5000 van damage £5,000 tools.

“If you can steal £5,000 in tools & sell them for £400 with the risk of courts fining you £80 where’s the deterrent?

“Tell that to police who say they have to prioritise & weak sentencing means it’s not worth the man hours.

“Thanks to individuals who have offered money & support 4 Billy having his tools stolen. We will follow up trade offers to re-supply.

“Billy’s been hugely energised by the support of so many people over the theft of his tools. Asked me to thank you all.”


Photo: Simon Jones - The Sun

Speaking to The Sun Billy said his first thoughts had been whether the work for the Newcombes would be finished in time.

He said: “Getting the family back together is the priority.

“I felt sick when I saw what had happened. I just thought ‘Why have you done this?’

“They know all the good work DIY SOS do.

“My main concern is that it was a setback. Some of the tools I had I’ve had since 1965. They even stole my wellies.”

Project manager Mark Miller told The Sun: “It’s an absolutely shameless theft and with no regard for anyone.

“By doing that and taking tools from someone’s van doing a build they are stopping their work.

“It stopped our Billy from working, it jeopardised when the family could get back in.

“It happened on Wednesday morning. The site was really busy, everyone was working so hard.

“Nobody saw a thing, it’s a very busy street.

“120 people have given their time for nothing to help us so we have just been broken someone has come and done this.

“We have got cameras everywhere, there’s filming going on at the time.”

Yesterday well wishers James Lynott, from London Electric Contractors Ltd, and David Talbot, from City Electrical Factors, turned up to donate tools to help.
 

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