Funding plea after Doncaster mechanic has £15,000 of tools stolen and van set on fire

A kind-hearted stranger has launched a funding appeal for a Doncaster mechanic after he had £15,000 of tools stolen from his van before it was abandoned and set on fire.

Mobile mechanic Simon Lake lost every single item of equipment after thieves stole his Fiat Fiorino van from a Doncaster motorway service station before setting the vehicle ablaze, leaving it totally gutted.

After hearing of the incident, a big-hearted stranger set up a GoFundMe page to raise £5,000 for new tools and a van for Dunscroft-based Simon, who runs one man outfit S L Vehicle Solutions.

Claire Burgin was moved to launch the campaign after seeing a post Simon’s wife Sue shared on Facebook about the incident in the early hours of Monday morning.

Simon Lake watches as his van goes up in flames.

Firefighters from Thorne Fire Station were sent to the scene of the blaze in Cuckoo Lane, Hatfield at around 1am, with police also at the location after the van was stolen from the nearby Doncaster North services at the intersection of the M18 and M180.

Sue said: “He’d nipped inside the services for a couple of minutes to buy a coffee and when he came out, the van had gone.

"His entire livelihood has gone, just like that. They took absolutely everything inside – even his coat and hat – before setting it on fire. It’s unbelievable.”

The van contained a range of expensive Snap-on and DeWalt tools, which were sadly not insured.

Said Sue: “The van was insured but he couldn’t afford to insure the tools as well – it just costs too much.

"We struggle as it is."

Simon’s work involves him maintaining vehicles for Doncaster based Elmfield Farm dairies, ensuring that the firm’s fleet of vehicles can deliver milk to stores as well as potatoes to fish and chip shops during the lockdown.

Said Sue: “He’s been working throughout, helping others and doing mechanic jobs for free sometimes. This has just totally set him back.”

He is now managing to operate for the time being using borrowed tools and a van loaned by Elmfield Farm.

She added: “Claire has been an absolute angel. I can’t thank her enough for what she has done.

"It has left us feeling really down and upset so this has restored our faith in humanity.”

You can donate to the appeal HERE