Family speak out after removal van was stolen from Huntingdonshire yard

A FAMILY who lost everything when a removal lorry containing all their possessions was stolen have appealed to the thieves to return toys and items belonging to their children.

The family-of-four, who have asked not to be named for fear they could be targeted again, said they were devastated and hurt that criminals could be “despicable” enough to take a lorry storing just under �42,000 of their goods as they moved from their five-bedroom house.

The theft, reported by The Hunts Post last week, of the 35ft-long Scania lorry – itself worth between �15,000 and �20,000 - from Cromwell Removals’ yard in Needingworth on December 12 left them without all of their Georgian and designer Mark Elliott furniture, electrical equipment and antiques.

But much more distressing was the loss of priceless photographs, family memories and toys treasured by their two children, aged three and nine.

“When the removal people said the lorry had gone, I said: ‘What do you mean it’s gone? My life is on that lorry,’” the mother said. “I felt devastated. People get stuff stolen all the time but it hurts that someone thinks it is okay to steal your life.

“I don’t care about the televisions and furniture because that’s just stuff. However, I think it’s wrong that children are affected by this kind of greed and crime.

“All their toys and bikes have gone. My son has been collecting Lego since he was three and catalogues all his instruction manuals. He has been so upset by what has happened. When these crimes affect children, that is when it becomes even more despicable.”

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She added: “If those responsible could find it in their hearts to return the things that relate to the children, that would be the best thing they could do.”

Since the theft, relatives and friends have rallied round to provide furniture and toys for the children to play with while they get back on their feet.

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped,” the mother said.

She and her husband have been forced to take time off work to replace everything they lost, as well as re-do their Christmas shopping – all their presents had been in the lorry.

They have also had to think carefully about which documents they had in the house in case that gives the thieves any clues as to their new address.

However, the couple have said it was “situation normal” over the festive period and were adamant that: “You can’t let it affect your plans. You can’t let it ruin Christmas.”

The mother also said that while the theft was terrible, it has made them focus on what is important.

“At the end of the day, we are all together and that is the most important thing,” she said. “Our son is quite a sensitive boy and we were really worried he would struggle with what has happened. However he has been brilliant. He is hurt that he has lost so much but he still said to my husband: ‘I’m a lucky boy really. I’m healthy, we love each other and that is what matters.”

Steve Cruttenden, who runs Cromwell Removals, has offered a �5,000 reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of those responsible.

CONTACT: Anyone with information should call DC Rehman at Cambridgeshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.