Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

Sevenoaks expert comes to the rescue of DIY SOS TV star after thieves break into his van

by Frank Baldwin

THE presenters on the popular BBC TV show DIY SOS are well known for coming to the rescue of people who need help with their property.

But the roles were reversed recently when a Sevenoaks-based vehicle key and anti-theft expert came to the aid of Billy Byrne, the electrician on the show, when his van was broken into while the DIY SOS team members were working and filming at a house in Chislehurst.

TO THE RESCUE: Billy Byrne with Ben Assender of VanSecure

Ben Assender of VanSecure is a member of the Sevenoaks BNI (Business Network International). He was contacted by Robin Say, owner of South East Property Maintenance, who is a member of the Westerham chapter of BNI. He was one of the local tradesmen who had offered to help the SOS team on the Chislehurst property.

Ben said: “Robin called and told me that more than £1,000 worth of Billy’s tools had been stolen from his van which was parked close to the site they were working on. To gain entry, the thief had broken the handle off his back door which is quite a common occurrence on his particular make of van. The damage meant Billy could not use this door.

“I drove to the site and repaired the door for him and to make sure this did not happen again I fitted some extra security. I didn’t charge anything as this was my way of saying thanks for the great work they do on DIY SOS.”

Ben joked that in return Billy thanked him by getting him a bacon roll and a coffee from the DIY SOS catering van. But the real ‘thanks’ is that as a result of meeting each other, Ben and the TV star are now planning to set up a kind of DIY SOS for tradesmen who have had their tools stolen from their vehicles.

Ben said: “This is a massive problem throughout the country. When someone has their tools stolen it nearly always stops them working and as a result this can make their lives really difficult. Some tradesmen have been forced out of businesses after having tools stolen. I have even heard stories of people who have taken their own lives because they have found themselves in such a bad financial situation through not being able to carry on working.

“If someone has to wait a month to six weeks before an insurance claim is paid they can’t work, and if they can’t work they can’t pay their bills or their rent or mortgage. The authorities don’t see it as a priority because I don’t think they understand the effect it has on people who are trying to earn a living when something like this happens.”

Through VanSecure, Ben wants to set up a scheme where the public would be invited to nominate someone who needs help when they find themselves in this situation. Billy has offered to get involved and help promote the scheme.

“Ben added: “Of course, what we really want to do is help people before something like this happens by using preventative measure to protect their vehicles, but most of the time people only get locks once a theft has happened. We offer free advice in the first instance to try and make sure these thefts don’t happen.”

If you would like advice on securing your vehicle you can call Ben on 01959 928003.

Or for more information log on to: www.vansecure.co.uk

TV TEAM: Billy Byrne (centre) with DIY SOS team mates Nick Knowles, Chris Frediani, Julian Perryman, and Mark Millar

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