A COMMUNITY has come together to support a Southampton man after his van was stolen last week.

Last Monday, a Ford Transit belonging to plumber and carpenter Shaun Fitzgerald was stolen from outside his home in Orwell Close, Millbrook.

The van, which contained 30 years and £10k worth of tools, was later found on Wednesday in Camberley, Surrey.

Shaun said that after hearing his van had been found he drove up there to find that all his tools had gone, the van had been stripped of all its parts and it had been set on fire.

Now he has been forced to take a week off work and says he has lost out on about £1,000 worth of trade as a result.

Shaun, 50, who owns building and refurbishment company IDEAL, said that although his business is still operating the theft of his van made him consider closing it down.

He said: “The van was 10-years-old and it was my pride and joy. It has knocked me a lot and I’m quite a tough individual.

“I was contemplating shutting it all down. I thought, we’ve had hard years with Covid and now this happens. So I’m here fighting my conscience because I know I can’t because I have customers.”

Daily Echo: Shaun Fitzgerald's Ford Transit.

The van, which Shaun said was a unique anniversary model, was insured and now he is waiting for the claim to go through.

The tools were not covered however, but now he said he has had his spirits lifted by friends, family and clients who have come together to support him.

Shaun, who has three children,said his family have pledged to support him to buy more tools, with customers also saying they will contribute financially.

As well as this, a GoFundMepage has now been set up by a family from Shaun’s daughter’s football team, Hamble Lionesses, which he has sponsored for the past two years.

The page, which has a target of £500 has currently raised £170, and Shaun said he didn’t know anything about it until just days ago.

“The gesture of it all was upsetting, in a good way. People have come together and they’ve done this for me. They didn’t have to.

“I’ve been such an independent person for years, no matter what it is, I carry on. I don’t ask for people’s help. This was heart-wrenching. It’s just so nice.”

Police are now appealing for any witnesses to call them on 101 quoting INC20210525-0078.

The fundraising page can be found here.