A MOORTHORPE couple who run a secondhand shop to fund a third world orphanage are appealing for information after their van was burned out.
Sharon Kerr and David Hoggart have put up a reward for any information leading to the conviction of the arsonist, who destroyed the vehicle they used for picking up donations for the Little Hope Shop, Barnsley Road, Moorthorpe.
The couple set up the shop to pay for rent, food, teachers and supplies for Karen’s Little Hope school and orphanage in Kenya.
The couple set up the school, which has 112 pupils and is home to 22 orphans, in memory of Miss Kerr’s sister, Karen Close, who died from cancer in January 2007.
They were devastated when they learned about the arson attack, which happened on Cambridge Street, just around the corner from the shop, at around 3.30am on Wednesday, December 21.
A crew from South Elmsall Fire Station attended the incident but firefighters were unable to save the van.
The pair now face having to buy a new vehicle from their own funds or pay massively increased insurance premiums as they did not have a protected no claims policy.
Miss Kerr, of Barnsley Road, said they had also recently had their car damaged by someone kicking it and would-be thieves had tried to steal lead from the shop’s roof on four separate occasions.
She said: “It feels like we are being targeted but why?
“The shop hasn’t been doing well lately, like many other places, and this just feels like an extra kick in the teeth.
“Someone has been trying to pinch the lead off our roof and then left a massive footprint in the boot of the car. Now this.
“We have no vehicle to pick up donations for the store any more.
“We would have to pay loads more insurance money if we claimed through them so we’ll have to pay for a new van ourselves, which we just can’t afford.
“They have ruined us and we just don’t know what to do.
“We really need someone to step forward with information.”
Firefighters referred the matter to the police, who are treating the incident as arson.
A police spokeswoman said: “We received a call to reports of a red LDV Convoy van on fire.
“It is being treated as arson and we are appealing for anyone who saw anything to come forward.”
Anyone with information should call the South Kirkby neighbourhood police team (NPT) on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.