AN arborist who was effectively left without a business when thieves stole his van, chipper and all his working gear has issued a heartfelt thank you to the local community and fellow tree surgeons after a campaign to help him back on his feet raised more than £4,500 in three days.
Chris Heywood lost £22,000 worth of equipment when thieves struck at the driveway of his home, putting him and his colleagues out of work.
To add insult to injury, the 24-year-old, who is based in Bolton, was then hoodwinked into handing over £3,500 on a promise that his equipment would be returned, seeing it as a chance to ensure her did not let down any of his customers. However, he soon discovered this was only a scam to extract cash from him.
He was eventually reunited with his van, only to find it was wrecked, with the police offering him little reassurance that he will see either his cash or any of his equipment again.
“The support I’ve had is unreal,” said Chris, who has been working in the business for eight years, setting up on his own a little more than a year ago. “I must admit I’ve seen the worst and best of people in the last week.
“I’ve learnt a lot recently and after feeling the whole world was against me, I’ve started to see there’s people out there who appreciate the work I do and the effort I’ve put in to set myself up in business. I started out with a little Peugeot 208 and a hand saw and have built my business up, so this has come as a real blow.
“But to see how everyone has rallied round has given me a real boost. It’s not just those who have contributed financially to help get my business back up and running, it’s those in the industry who’ve offered support, like Redwood Global who’ve offered me the use of a chipper, and Bridgewater Tree Services who’ve offered me the use of a van and a chipper at weekends – and I’m in direct competition with them!
“Salford Forestry and Arb Works have also offered to help in any way they can and all the support has been a real help.”
Unfortunately, Chris was not fully insured on all his equipment, but he is hopeful with the support he’s had he can get back up and running in the near future.
“It has definitely taught me a lesson, and hopefully this is a warning to all those in the industry to make sure all their equipment is locked up safely at night.”
If you want to help Chris, you can donate to his gofundme page – help local Tree Surgeon get back on track