Low-life burglars have raided a delivery company supplying NHS hospitals, care homes and schools with food.
JR Holland, based in Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, Tyneside, was targeted on Sunday night as staff were gearing up to provide vital supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Seven company vans are now said to be 'unusable' after they were smashed and has diesel siphoned off, meaning local services are now short of supplies.
It is believed the the thieves managed to smash their way through metal fencing to raid the site.
Owner John Holland branded the thieves "toerags" and told ChronicleLive he was “absolutely mortified” to learn about the break-in at a time when demand on the company is "colossal".
He said: “They’ve smashed the fencing, smashed the tops of seven wagons, stolen the diesel and spilled it all over the yard.”
It comes as the business tries to public services topped up with a supply of fresh food, ahead of a potential nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
As of Monday afternoon the UK coronavirus death toll hit 335, with 6,650 testing positive.
Mr Holland said: “You could almost live with the theft but it’s the damage to the vehicles, which makes them unserviceable when there’s people going without.
“At this moment in time the demand is colossal for hospitals and schools.
“When I found out this morning at 4am I was mortified, it was horrendous.
“We are a business at the end of the day, but we do provide a service to the community.
“We’re trying to keep people in work and this morning there were drivers with nothing to do.”
The firm’s security cameras show doors to two of the vans opening at around 5pm, but it’s believed the thieves came back later to siphon off diesel from seven of the 36 vans.”
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Mr Holland said: “Luckily we have been able to get someone out this morning to work on the vans, but it’s been a huge setback, just because some toerags have broken in to steal.
“I just think, where’s the wartime spirit?
“There have been some wonderful stories in the past few weeks but then you’ve got things like this happening, and it’s so sad.”
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "We are appealing for information after a report of a theft from a premises on Duke's way, Team Valley.
"At some point between 2pm on Saturday (March 21) and 6pm Sunday (March 22), it was reported unknown offenders have gained access into the compound and stolen a quantity of fuel."
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to email [email protected] quoting log 152 230320.
- In the News
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