A SELF-employed carpenter has been stripped of his livelihood after his tools were stolen just days after getting the devastating news he has cancer.

Vaughan Lendon-Montrose was hit with a double blow when he woke up on Tuesday morning – the day after breaking his cancer news to his children – to find thieves had raided his van, taking all of his equipment, worth £4,000.

The father of four was only given the heartbreaking news he had thyroid cancer last Friday and is now desperate to recover his tools, including saws, screwdrivers and drills, so he can make enough money for his family before starting cancer treatment.

It is the fourth time Mr Lendon- Montrose, who has been running his business VLM Carpentry Services in Kidderminster for about 13 years, has had his tools stolen from his van, while parked on his driveway.

“I’m devastated,” said the 47-year-old. “I’ve got four kids – I’m trying to work and now I have got nothing.

"I’m trying to work in between going to hospital and I’ve got no way of doing it. I can’t afford to replace them.”

Mr Lendon-Montrose said he discovered the theft, believed to have happened in the early hours of Monday morning, when he went out to put some water into his van.

“I noticed the back door was open and one of my sons said the side door was also open and that’s when I looked in and couldn’t believe what I had seen, yet again,” he explained.

“I was absolutely gutted. I know they didn’t know I had cancer but it’s not what you want on top of everything else. The tools are my livelihood – that’s what makes my money.

"I’ve had to cancel what work I had. I just feel very low.”

Mr Lendon-Montrose had only returned to work last week after having half of his thyroid removed in January when it became swollen.

A biopsy on the removed gland confirmed cancer and he now has to have surgery and radiotherapy.

He said his family was trying to come to terms with his diagnosis and had been left upset by the latest theft.

“I was looking forward to getting back to work,” he said. “I built it up into a nice little business and I’m trying to earn a living.

“I’m going to be out of action for God knows how long this time. I just want my tools back.”

Anyone who wants to donate tools to Mr Lendon-Montrose should con - tact Shuttle reporter Cadisha Brown on 01562 633341.