BURGLARS ransacked a sick man’s home and then escaped in his van – stealing his livelihood too.
Joiner Ivor Johnson has not been able to work since undergoing major cancer surgery last June to remove his bladder and prostate.
Since then the 63-year-old grandad has had a traumatic time.
The operation led to complications which kept him in hospital for five weeks. He has survived three bouts of potentially deadly pneumonia since.
On top of that he has recently developed kidney problems caused by further complications from last year’s surgery and is due to go back into hospital for more major surgery in a few weeks.
He has trouble sleeping and took a sleeping tablet at 1.15am on Wednesday.
Within hours burglars had raided his home on Penistone Road at Fenay Bridge and searched through wardrobes and chests of drawers in his bedroom.
He slept throughout the raid and discovered it had happened only early on Thursday morning.
The intruders had gone through every room and stolen cash, ornaments, an antique clock and a mobile phone.
“I’m still not entirely sure exactly what they’ve taken,’’ he said. “I keep finding more things missing. Perhaps it’s as well I didn’t wake up when they were in the house.’’
The callous thieves then stole his distinctive van which contained all his joinery tools.
The black Mercedes panel van – registration number N165 NWR – is still missing. If anyone spots it they should alert police immediately.
Ivor has done joinery work at Whiteley’s Garden Centre near Mirfield for many years and the van used to be owned by the garden centre.
Although letters with the Whiteley's name are no longer on the van, they have left an imprint which can still be made out.
The traumatic experience has left the grandad fed up with the world.
He said: “I’ve not been able to work for a year so huge debts have built up and I’m now going to have to sell my home to clear them.
“The cancer operation was horrific – there were times when I wish I’d just die – and then I’ve been in hospital again with bouts of pneumonia.
“I’ve just come out of hospital again after being told I’ll need more surgery as one of my kidneys has developed problems linked to the cancer surgery last year. And now, after all that, I’ve been burgled.’’
He added: “No-one seems bothered about anyone else anymore. It’s a very selfish world.’’
Ivor has a daughter, Lynne, and 10-year-old grandson Jake, who live in Lupset in Wakefield.
He was diagnosed with advanced cancer last June and in September underwent surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary to remove his bladder and prostate.
Although the operation was successful, he then suffered from pneumonia in hospital and ended up being there for five weeks. He described the experience as “horrific” and found sleep impossible due to the painkilling drugs.
“I actually remember praying to die at one point,’’ he said. “It really was horrific. The surgery took nine hours and then I had to go back down for more the next day. Every time I closed my eyes I saw white, not blackness, and then began to hallucinate.’’
The pneumonia meant he had a mask strapped to his face giving him oxygen, but the mask made him feel terribly claustrophobic.
“If I knew what I’d have to go through I think I’d rather have died,’’ he said.
After he was allowed home he ended up with two further bouts of pneumonia which put him in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
“On one occasion my breathing deteriorated during the night and by 5am I thought I was on my way out,’’ he said. “The cancer treatment must have lowered my resistance. I used to be a very fit person, but I’m not now.’’
He now faces more surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary to replace a tube leading from his kidney. A tube created during the cancer surgery has become scarred and blocked.
“I’m terrified of going for more surgery,’’ he said.
Det Sgt Jim Carter from Kirklees CID intelligence unit said the burglary could be linked to two more at the nearby Hermitage Park in Lepton the same night.
He added: “This was a particularly nasty offence against Mr Johnson. If anyone sees his van or has any information at all about this crime I would implore them to contact the police or Crimestoppers.
“He has lost his faith in human nature and is deeply upset by what’s happened. Let’s hope someone can help us to restore his faith in humanity.’’