Fifty tonnes of wood and trailer stolen from Northamptonshire business
A 'one-man-band' firewood supplier in Sywell had his trailer, wood splitter and 50 tonnes of wood stolen ahead of his busiest time of year.
Willie Penn, of The Wood Company in Sywell, was alerted to his Ifor Williams Trailer being stolen on Wednesday (December 4), between 3.30pm and 4.30pm, while he was away from his yard.
The firewood supplier was made aware it was missing by one of his friends who wanted to borrow the trailer.
When his friend got to the yard he called Willie to say he could not find it.
On Willie's return, he had also noticed his timber, which cost him about £3,000, and his wood splitter, which cost him about £2,700, had been stolen too.
He said: "This is my busiest time of year. I'm having to send all my customers to someone else because I want them to have decent wood still.
"I'm driving a lorry now because I have still got to support my family and make sure I can get my kids Christmas presents and pay my mortgage.
"When I deliver my wood I have a cup of tea with my customers, and this news is heartbreaking for me."
Willie, who lives in Irthlingborough, also creates wood sculptures for charity auctions and has previously supplied Irchester Country Park with free wood for their carving shows.
His work can also be seen in the grounds of Castle Ashby Gardens where he has carved a wooden bench with an owl.
Willie started his own business five years ago with only an axe and a chainsaw, which he bought from Argos.
Over time he has spent his hard-earned wages on buying his own equipment to set his own business up and he was devestated to find out it had been taken from him.
"I'm just the unluckiest person alive really," Willie added.
"I'm only a small business. I don't make big profits. I literally just make enough money to live on most of the time."
A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Police said: "This happened on December 4, between 3.30pm and 4.30pm, when the unknown offender(s) entered through a gate, moved items, lifted items onto a trailer, attached trailer to their vehicle and left in an unknown direction.
"Anyone with information is encouraged to come forward."
A fundraising page has been set up for Willie by his friend Laura, and so far it has raised £1,270. If you would like to donate, click here.