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  1. ITV Report

Vandals target volunteer's car while she helps neighbours

A volunteer helping her community through the coronavirus crisis had all four tyres on her car slashed while helping neighbours.

Helen Crouch, who has been delivering meals, prescriptions and groceries to people in coronavirus isolation in three Leicestershire villages, wept when she realised her car had been damaged.

Helen’s VW Touareg was damaged on Main Street in Thornton sometime between about 7pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.

The 41-year-old single mum, who set up the Bagworth and Thornton Coronavirus Community Response Team earlier this month, said: “I am a strong person but I just stood there and cried.

“There were leaflets advertising the response team in my back windows and everyone has seen me out and about in Thornton, Bagworth and Stanton under Bardon. No other car was damaged. I think someone has deliberately targeted my car to try to stop me doing what I am doing. It is sick beyond belief. All four tyres have holes in. It looks like someone has used a big screwdriver to inflict the damage."

– Helen Crouch

She added: “My car broke down on Saturday so I had to leave it there. I had just delivered a shepherd’s pie to an old person in the village.

“I called a friend and told him about my car breaking down. He said I could borrow his van to carry on my rounds as I had other food to deliver.”

Helen, who has visited more than 100 people in the 12 days since she set up the volunteer group, worked until the evening on Saturday then went out the next morning.

Helen’s VW Touareg was damaged on Main Street in Thornton sometime between about 7pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday. Credit: BPM

A distraught Helen, a self-employed interior designer who is now jobless, filmed the damage to her tyres and can be heard describing he emotional reaction the vandalism.

Shortly after the video was posted online, Thornton resident Matt Goddard set up a Gofundme appeal to pay for Helen’s tyres to be replaced. He set a target of £500 which was achieved within two hours.

Matt, who is in a 14-day isolation at home with his wife and child, is a firefighter with the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service based at Lutterworth.

“This is terrible. Helen is amazing. She has been delivering stuff to us and to my parents who are also in isolation in the village. Any extra money raise will got to help the group carry on their great work looking after people and helping them in isolation.”

– Matt Goddard

Helen said: “I can’t thank the people enough. It is very humbling to know that, in these tough times, people have actually donated money to help me out.

“A horrible thing has happened but this just shows that the vast majority of people are good.

“I want the person who slashed my tyres to know that I won’t be discouraged or beaten. They won’t win – together the whole community will win.”

Helen, who has visited more than 100 people in the 12 days since she set up the volunteer group, worked until the evening on Saturday then went out the next morning. Credit: BPM

Leicestershire Police is investigating the tyre slashing. A force spokesperson said: “We have had a report of damage to a vehicle parked in Main Street, Thornton. This is believed to have happened between about 7pm on March 28 and 9am the next day.

“We would ask anyone who knows anything about the incident to call us.”