Arson attack destroys Baldock cancer sufferer’s business

Bert Stevenson's recovery truck was robbed and set alight be thieves

Bert Stevenson's recovery truck was robbed and set alight be thieves - Credit: Archant

Thieves have “destroyed” the livelihood of a cancer sufferer who has just undergone major surgery.

Bert Stevenson at home

Bert Stevenson at home - Credit: Archant

Bert Stevenson, of Park Street in Baldock, has been running a vehicle recovery service for more than 10 years but had his truck set on fire on Saturday.

The truck was set on fire on Saturday

The truck was set on fire on Saturday - Credit: Archant

The 63-year-old underwent a 10-hour operation on January 27 at Lister Hospital in Stevenage to remove large parts of his oesophagus and some of his stomach after being diagnosed with cancer last year. Since being released from the hospital on February 6, he has been readmitted with infections several times.

After receiving a phone call from the fire service at 8am on Saturday to tell him his vehicle had been broken into and set alight, Mr Stevenson had to return to the hospital with breathing problems.

Thieves stole a starter pack from the truck, an IVECO Spec Lift, parked at Whitehorse Service Station in Clothall Road, Baldock, and then set it on fire.

“I am disgusted that anyone could do this to my dad,” said Mr Stevenson’s daughter Lisa Hankin.

“He would help anyone out if he could. My dad’s business has been destroyed and he’s left with nothing. His truck was his livelihood and he had just spent £1,500 improving it. For someone to not only break into it and steal equipment, but to then set it on fire, is an incredibly heartless thing to do.”

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Before being set alight, Mr Stevenson’s vehicle was being housed free-of-charge in an old car wash at the station, which was also damaged in the fire.

The station’s owner, Stewart Jenkins, was letting Mr Stevenson use it while he was in hospital.

A spokesman for Herts police said they are treating the incident as arson and anyone with information should contact them on 101.