Tradesman devastated over theft of equipment
The owner of a small independent business has told how he cried when he discovered more than £14,500 worth of his equipment had been stolen just days before Christmas.
Father-of-two Charlie Miller said he had spent nine years building up his firm in Co Down.
Some time over Friday evening or Saturday morning, a gang broke into Mr Miller's WCM Property Maintenance business, as well as four others nearby including carpet, gardening and photography firms.
The thieves cut through fencing before raiding the units at a business park on the Killaughey Road, Donaghadee.
Among the items stolen from Mr Miller were power washers, a vibrating plate and workshop heater. All were engraved with the initials WCM.
He said he was devastated at the loss of the equipment, which he said would hamper his work in the coming weeks, including the renovation of a facility for those with autism.
But he said he had been comforted by messages of goodwill from people in the area, some of whom had offered to lend him their tools and equipment until his were replaced.
"They hit four units including mine," Mr Miller told the Belfast Telegraph. "It is not stuff which could be easily moved. I'd say there were had to be two, three or four of them.
"I actually cried when I saw that. I've been on my own for nine years."
Mr Miller said he feared any insurance payout may not cover the cost of the equipment.
"We're working on a house for Autism NI at the minute and that will be affected," he added. "But it has also restored my faith in humanity with the number of people who have called and texted.
"People have said whatever I need I can borrow.
"I just want it back. I've put up a cash reward."
The PSNI appealed for anyone with information to contact CID at Newtownards Police Station or at the independent charity Criemstoppers on 0800 555 111."