Penycae tree surgeon's gear worth £6k stolen in van raid


Jonathan Grieve

A tree surgeon who has raised thousands of pounds for charity lost equipment worth £6,000 in a raid on his van.

Fred Archer, who runs Basic Arbor, in Penycae, said 12 saws, trimmers and blowers were taken from the van, which had been locked in a shed at his company’s premises off Afoneitha Road.

Among the stolen items was a saw which Fred said was “irreplaceable” because of its sentimental value.

Fred said: “It was my first saw. My father bought it for me in 1994 and it has been with me for a long time.”

Fred said his insurance company had refused to cover the cost because there was a fault with the lock on the shed.

“There were two saws worth about £1,000 each, it is all specialist equipment. I’m having to take a loan out to cover the cost of replacing them,” Fred added.

“The police have told me they are looking into it.”

Fred, 48, says he is having to replace the equipment based on what he needs for upcoming jobs because he cannot afford to do it all in one go.

And as well as the loan, he is having to use money which had been put aside for a holiday to Ireland for himself and his father, Fred Sr, who bought him the first saw in 1994.

Despite his loss, Fred says he bears no ill will towards the thieves.

“The problem with wishing harm on people is it usually comes back to get you. I’m not that type of person,” he said.

Fred has raised about £7,000 for various charities across North Wales over the last 10 years through a garden mulch scheme.

He said: “During the course of our work, tree debris is chipped and brought back to our yard where we allow people to help themselves to our heap of chippings, which can be used as garden mulch.

“All we ask is that people make a donation in our collection box.”

Since starting the fundraising in 2003, Mr Archer has donated money to the Wrexham Maelor Shooting Star appeal, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Wales Air Ambulance, Nightingale House Hospice and Hope House Hospices.

North Wales Police issued an appeal for information following the theft, during which damage was also caused to property within the shed.

A spokesman said: “If you saw anything suspicious, or have any information relating to this incident, please contact North Wales Police by dialling 101, quoting RC14118124.”

See full story in the Leader

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