12:10PM, Wednesday 24 November 2021
Paul Masters was left ' absolutely devastated' by the theft. Photo by Ian Longthorne.
A fundraiser has been set up to help a Burnham resident get back to business after he was left ‘absolutely devastated’ by the theft of his van and carpet cleaning equipment.
Paul Masters, who started his business ProMasters Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning in August this year, said that his business has been left ‘totally destroyed’ by the incident.
Although his van has been found, all the equipment, worth £6,000, is gone.
The 57-year-old, who has type 2 diabetes, said he woke up on Saturday, November 13 feeling ‘confused and dazed’, and stopped off at Richway Food and Wine in Nursery Road to get some chocolate before going to a job in Aldershot.
Paul explained that in his ‘confusion’ and ‘hypoglycemic state’, he left his keys in the ignition and left the engine running.
Seconds after entering the shop, Paul saw his van being driven off with his personal belongings and all of his equipment inside.
The carpet cleaning equipment inside included an Airflex Storm 800psi carpet cleaning machine and the tools and chemicals he needed to do his job.
Paul who lost his mother, aunt and uncle all to COVID-19 last year, said he was devastated as he had bought the equipment using inheritance money left by his late mother.
Paul said: “[I feel] devastated [and] depressed, really really absolutely devastated. The fact that it was my late mother’s money that paid for that.
“I’ve not been eating, I can’t sleep properly and that’s no good for a diabetic.”
Soon after the incident, a GoFundMe page was set up with the aim of raising £6,000 for Paul to re-purchase his stolen equipment.
The fundraiser was set up by Rehan Siddiqui, who explained on the page that he ‘had to take action’ after hearing what had happened.
More than £1,630 has been raised so far.
On Rehan, Paul added: “[He’s an] absolutely incredible man. I don’t know him personally, he heard my story, obviously he saw my post on Facebook.
“He’s been absolutely wonderful.”
On the response from the community, he added: “[It’s] absolutely amazing.
“To do all of this for me is, I have no words, I’m just lost for words.”
Paul added that a £300 cash reward is also on offer for the return of all his equipment ‘undamaged’.
He said: “My Christmas wish is to get it all back, that’s all I want.”
A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police (TVP) said an investigation is going. Contact 101 quoting reference 43210513320.
To view the fundraiser visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/lets-help-paul-get-back-to-business