Online support gathers momentum for ram-raided Wigan store

Mark Thompson outside the boarded-up shop
Mark Thompson outside the boarded-up shop

An online fund-raising campaign is under way to restore a much-loved Hindley store after it was ram-raided by masked men on bonfire weekend.

Alpha Hire, a tool hire shop on Bridge Street, Hindley, has a listing on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, and has raised over £1,000 in just five days, with an aim to raise £10,000.

On Saturday November 3, men in balaclavas reversed a car through the front of the store, before ransacking the contents, taking with them at least 16 Stihl saws, a chainsaw, and other items.

Mark Thompson, 55, has been the owner of store for the past 15 years and is delighted by the huge response from the local community in restoring the shop.

He said: “I didn’t know anything about the fund-raising page, but suddenly there is all these people giving not only their money, but their time too.

“My daughter saw I was really down after it happened, and I’m too proud to ask for help, even in times like these where there’s nowhere else to turn, but she set up the fund-raiser and the result has been amazing.”

As well as the extensive amount of items stolen, the front of the store has been boarded up after brickwork and the shutter was demolished.

Mr Thompson said this has meant less business for the store, which is now back open.

He said: “It’s insult to injury, really, because people see the boards on the front and think that we’re not open, but it’s the most we can do at the minute with what we’ve got.”

The support for Thompson’s store has gone beyond the website too, where other store workers and passers-by lending a helping hand, with one person immediately blocking the gaping store entrance with their car.

Comments of support by customers and other locals have been flooding in on the store’s GoFundMe page, with one person posting: “Top bloke, always helps me out...want to keep him doing what he does best. Keep up the good service”.

Donations can be made to support Alpha Hire’s campaign at gofundme.com/give-mark-a-helping-hand.

Police are yet to make any arrests. Anyone with details is asked to ring 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.