THE family of a former gamekeeper and Men’s Shed member has been left feeling ‘furious and wounded’ after they claim volunteers from the organisation broke into their late father’s shed and stole equipment.

John Brown, of Little London, sadly died in April aged 86. He was a retired gamekeeper, and had taken part in the Andover Men’s Shed group for the past four years. He was also an avid collector of DIY equipment, and enjoyed making things with his daughter Linn Jackson.

Mr Brown had two sheds in his garden and, over the years, acquired various gifts and bought items himself - meaning he had a large collection of tools.

When he got ill in November 2021, he said he wanted his family to give some of his collection to the Men’s Shed group after taking what they wanted themselves, following his death.

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Linn’s husband Sam Jackson said: “It’s priceless, it was his legacy. This was a great gesture from him to them.”

After his death in April, the family set about sorting through his belongings, including the sheds. Linn, 55, wanted to keep some stuff herself, and give some to her sister Julie, 58, and Julie’s son.

She said that it has taken some time, because her father didn’t like to throw things away and lived in the house for 30 years.

They agreed that the Men’s Shed would take the two sheds, and that the family would go through them with them on May 7 and give them some bits.

Linn and Sam, who live in Woolton Hill, had been working with Brian Cooke from Men’s Shed in Andover.

“He was very grateful, it was all very respectful,” said Sam.

However, the visit had to be postponed because Brian was unable to make it. That morning, two people from the Men’s Shed “turned up unexpectedly”, took the doors off the sheds and started to “help themselves” to the contents, Sam said.

Linn’s sister Julie, who lives in Andover, was at the property, and called Sam who spoke to the volunteers.

“They said they weren’t told [it wasn’t happening]. I asked them to take everything back and they said no problem,” he said.

However, it soon became clear that many items were missing from the sheds.

Sam said: “Linn had a tearful meltdown because she thought she had let her father down.”

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Sam contacted Mr Cooke, and said he was “just as angry” and promised to “deal with it”.

However, after weeks of communication, the items are yet to be returned.

“The girls are absolutely furious and deeply wounded,” said Sam.

“It’s been a difficult time. Linn’s gone from being his carer, to an administrative goodbye.”

Linn added: “Dad and I worked on their house and garden and lots of projects together for 30 years. It’s bad enough that I have to pack up his life and strip down everything we built together, but this is a total violation of our space and my memories.

“What I thought would be a really kind gesture has turned into a nightmare.”

Linn said that she will “never fully know all that they have taken”, but by working through her father’s manuals she has created an inventory of sorts, which shows that several items including more than a dozen screwdrivers, a router guide, a Bosh drill, a table saw, a mitre saw, carpentry chisels, and much more, have gone missing.

The family added that “there is still time to do the right thing”, and that all they ask is that the group returns the items taken.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary confirmed that the alleged theft has been reported to them, adding: “The incident is currently under investigation and lines of enquiry are being identified.”

The Advertiser contacted the Andover Men’s Shed, who said: “At this time we do not wish to make any comment.”

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