BURGLARS broke into the house of a community volunteer while he was out training for a charity walk.
William Gallagher, aged 42, was walking in Kirkby Lonsdale on Saturday with the Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Guy Harkin, and Cllr John Byrne.
They were training for the Yorkshire three peaks challenge which they will tackle on Sunday in support of the Mayor’s charities.
But Mr Gallagher received a phone call from a neighbour to say that his home had been broken into.
He arrived at his house in Oldhams Terrace, Astley Bridge, at 5.15pm and found items worth thousands of pounds had been stolen, including four laptops, a television and games consoles. The thieves had broken a front window to get into the property and searched through the drawers and cupboards.
Mr Gallagher has lived at the house for five years with his sons, William, aged 12, and Joel, aged 14.
He was a foster carer for 10 years, volunteered with a youth group and community centre, and now organises toy and Easter egg collections for children at Christmas and Easter. He said: “I had a lot of photographs on the laptops of my children growing up and they have all gone.
“I feel violated. I feel like it’s not my house anymore.
“Seeing all the mess and finding that things have been stolen is terrible.
“I’m frightened and worried in case they come back to do it again. I’m disgusted because I have done a lot of work to improve the area.
“I will not be disheartened, though, because the majority of the people on this estate are fantastic.”
Police confirmed they are investigating the burglary and said two people have been arrested.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.