A WIGAN angling centre is appealing for help after callous thieves broke into its base and plundered £17,000 worth of equipment.
Fir Tree Fishery owner Martin Taylor today spoke of his devastation at returning from holiday to be told the news.
It’s just absolutely gutting. It’s unbelievable that people would stoop so lowMartin Taylor
The not-for-profit Appley Bridge organisation provides a one-to-one specialist education centre for children and disabled people on top of its regular angling trade.
Martin says the theft, which took place overnight on September 23, has had a huge impact in the running of the fishery and in certain aspects has “ground it to a halt”.
“It’s absolutely devastating,” he added.
“We’ve estimated that around £17,000 worth of stuff has been taken.
“They’ve come in and broken into our education centre, taking all the computers and digital cameras.
“They’ve also taken fishing tackle. We had recently had a big grant from Wigan Council as part of the deal which has paid for it. I was actually on holiday when it happened but my staff only told me when I returned on Monday so as not to spoil it. They phoned the police though and they’re looking into it.”
Detectives who scoured the scene believe that those responsible made a number of trips to and from the premises which are on The Nook.
Martin believes there is a chance that the thieves knew Martin was on holiday and assumed the fishery would be secluded but horrified staff discovered the break-in the next day.
Martin said: “It’s just absolutely gutting. It’s unbelievable that people would stoop so low. We are going through the insurance and will hopefully be ok in that respect.
“A lot of the stuff taken though was vital like tablets used by children with autism.”
Despite the callous theft though, bosses have been touched by the kind donations made by members of the public.
Local residents have already donated fishing tackle to help the organisation carry on its work.
Martin added: “While the theft shows how low people can be, this shows the opposite.
“We have been blown away by people’s generosity.
“People have been so quick to offer a helping hand and we want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
“It would be absolutely amazing if anyone could help with electronic equipment to help with our educational work.”
Among the items taken were Sony laptops, digital cameras and new Preston Innovation 360 boxes as well as fishing poles.
Anyone with details is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.