THE family of a builder who had £2,000 worth of tools stolen from his van have started a fund-raising web page to replace them.

Robert Montgomery, known to many as ‘Bob the Builder’, was shocked to discover his van had been broken into on Divinity Road in Oxford on Monday.

The burglary happened between 2.25pm and 2.35pm when thieves damaged the locks before taking all of his equipment including electric tools, accessories and hand tools that will cost around £2,000 to replace.

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Mr Montgomery is semi-retired, and only does small occasional jobs.

The 73-year-old’s family said they were ‘absolutely devastated’ that his tools had been stolen and were worried that he would become a ‘shell of a man’ if he could not work.

His daughter Amy Montgomery said: “They cleaned him out of tools he has been collecting over his entire career. I’ve joked that he loves and cares for his tools more than his four children.

Oxford Mail:

“Of course this isn’t true, but if you know my dad you know how much he looks after his tools. It is awful to see the happy-go-lucky Irish charm stripped from him because of this terrible crime.

“Dad has always worked hard and at 73 he is not financially able to replace any of his tools at this time of his life. Myself and my siblings are very concerned that without a way of keeping active and working he will become a shell of a man.”

Ms Montgomery said she had heard that at least two other workmen had the same experience in the Divinity Road area on Monday.

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She said that organised tool theft was a growing problem in Oxford.

After setting up a GoFundMe page, she is hoping people will help her and her family to raise enough funds to at least replace some of her dad’s stolen items.

She said: “The list of things he has done for our family and friends is endless, and of course we would love to be in a position to replace everything for him but that just isn’t possible so here I am asking for help.

Oxford Mail:

“I understand how hard it is for everyone right now so any support would greatly be received and I’m not sure if I can put into words how grateful my family and I would be to see the look on his face if he could get at least some of his lifeline back.

“We have looked up to dad all of our lives. Our dad is our hero and to see him so broken over this is beyond bearable, especially given how much my dad has helped us all over the years.”

Thames Valley Police has issued advice on how to keep a vehicle secure and tools safe.

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It says that if you have to leave tools in a van overnight, it is a good idea to mark them clearly with your name or company name and address, using paint pens, and seal with a clear lacquer spray.

Items that are clearly marked are less desirable and more difficult to sell on.

You can also use a lockable cabinet within your van to store tools.

To donate to Mr Montgomery, go to GoFundMe and search ‘Help Bob the Builder get his tools back’.