A KIND-HEARTED volunteer who has spent weeks building shelters for refugees in Calais has had his tools stolen and is struggling to carry on with the aid work.

With winter fast approaching Naeem Akhtar, a plumber from Slough, has launched a project to get strong, sturdy shelters out to the migrants in Calais, but his efforts have come to a grinding halt this week after his van was broken into and all his tools were stolen.

Mr Akhtar said: “I’ve lost everything, all my woodworking tools, all my hand tools. I’m at my wits end about what I can do.”

Mr Akhtar first went out to the camps about three months ago with Noah’s Helpers community organisation based in Maidenhead to help distribute food.

During that first trip he realised the people out there really needed proper shelter for the winter and as soon as he was back in the UK he began formulating a plan – getting friends and family to help.

He said: “When you got there and you see the conditions, you understand that no one deserves to live like that.

“The main issue is the hygiene – they’re living in their own mess and there’s rubbish everywhere. It’s horrendous.”

Mr Akhtar explained the tents are no match for the conditions out there, especially with the strong winds.

He said: “When I’m there, I walk around and talk to people, as many people as I can, and find out what they need.

“Construction has the same basic principles wherever you are and building terminology in a lot of ways is the same - a square is a square whatever language you are talking.” as he demonstrated a square shape with his hands.

It is an unusual alliance, consisting of a builder, an architect, a policeman, taxi driver, the founder of Noah’s Helpers and office workers. The group of friends build the shelters at Mr Akhtar’s home, complete with cladding and felt roofs, and then ship them across.

This way they can better utilise their time while they are in Calais at the weekends.

Mr Akhtar had just got back from his fifth trip at around 1.30am on Monday morning, and being absolutely exhausted from his hard work, left his van full of his tools.

When he arrived at a job the next day, he opened the van doors and realised all his tools were missing.

He said: “Now I’m really stuck. I can’t work and I’ve got customers phoning me up but the main thing is that I can’t finish this shelter.

“I’m upset more than angry. The lads were all ready to go this weekend, the ferry was booked, the lorry was booked to transport the shelter. And now we can’t do anything.”

Mr Akhtar has put out a plea for any help anyone can offer, whether it is time, tools or funding. He can be contacted via rnplumbing@gmail.com or 07414552163 and the project’s page can be found at https://crowd funding.justgiving.com/ mysheltermydignity.