A PENSIONER may be down but he’s certainly not out after thieves targeted his Alcester shop and made off with £40,000 worth of stock.
Alan Stephens, who runs Alcester Sports and Tackle along with ex-wife Yvonne, found his Arden Forest Industrial Estate store vandalised and empty when he arrived to open up on Wednesday, July 8.
Among the items taken were shotguns and guns in for repair, plus a shotgun Alan had owned since he was a young man.
Thieves also stole hooks, line, rods, poles, seat boxes and luggage during the raid, stripping Alan of his livelihood – and pension.
A further £800 in cash was also taken.
But despite initially fearing he would be forced to close his doors, in a heart-warming victory, Alan may now be able to continue trading thanks to the generosity of the community.
He told The Observer: “It has been absolutely overwhelming. We’ve had letters, phone calls and people popping in to speak to us, I even had a woman press a five-pound-note into my hand when I was shopping the other day.”
The 72-year-old said it would be an expensive job to restock but he was willing to do all he could to ensure he can still see his loyal customers every day.
“We’ll do it gradually – just walk along steadily. The support I’ve had from the community shows people have faith in me and I have a duty to these people.”
Along with an unanimous decision by Astwood Bank Angling Club to refund Alan the £120 he paid to place an advert with them, a Just Giving page has been set up to help the popular pensioner get back on his feet.
Loren Lewis launched the page, which has since generated more than £2,200 after reading about Alan’s plight.
The 18-year-old said: “What happened really got to me. I couldn’t even imagine what it would feel like to lose something that has been your passion for 36 hard-working years.”
And it is people like Loren who have helped restore Alan’s faith in humanity.
He added: “For every bad person out there there are 100 good ones – we have to dismiss the bad ones and look to the good people.”
Warwickshire Police are continuing to investigate and anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police on 101.
Vist https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/loren-lewis-1 for more information or to donate.