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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Vital mobile food van wrecked by arsonists

A Maryport businessman has been left devastated after arsonists torched his mobile grocery van while he slept.

Bill Lister, 58, of Ismay Close, only opened Bill’s Food on the Move eight months ago.

It had been welcomed as a lifeline to many elderly and vulnerable people living on estates around Maryport and in nearby villages.

Mr Lister lost all his stock and his Ford Transit was destroyed after firebugs struck. They smashed a window on the vehicle before setting it alight.

Mr Lister, a taxi driver, said he did not know how long he would be off the road, but he was continuing to care for the elderly and vulnerable who depended on his visits.

He added: “I am ringing those customers, taking orders and delivering to them in my own car.”

He said his rounds took in towns and villages including Maryport, Crosby, Crosby Villa, Harriston, Prospect, Aspatria and Dearham, and he was visited by people including pensioners at sheltered housing.

He added: “It wasn’t just a business, it was a service. People rely on it, especially the elderly.

“I take their milk and bread and they can order whatever they want.”

Despite losing £3,000-worth of stock, Mr Lister was only insured for a £500 loss.

He said he had decided on Friday to increase his contents insurance, but had not done so immediately.

Since the attack he has had support from friends, family and the community.

He added: “I’ve had people offering to have coffee mornings to raise money to restock the van. I really appreciate that.”

Mr Lister said he was woken by someone knocking on his door at 5am on Saturday to tell him the mobile shop had been destroyed.

He said: “I am absolutely gutted and I don’t think my wife has stopped crying since.”

He said he could think of no motive, but added: “Somebody’s jealous of what I’ve got. I’ve been going for eight months and I was doing really well.”

The shop sold fresh fruit and vegetables, household and baby goods and foodstuffs. He also took orders for fresh pies and pasties and continued to drive taxis at the weekend.

Mr Lister added: “I’d like to thank all the people supporting us and I will be back.”

Anyone with information about the incident can call police on 101.

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