A STONEMASON has been left distraught after a lettering hammer which he has worked with for four decades was stolen by burglars.
David Massey, 63, of Hillside Memorials, says the hammer is "not worth 30 bob" but its loss is "like losing an arm’’.
He has offered a reward of £100 to any charity, should it be returned safe and sound.
The hammer was stolen along with other tools from the monumental masons in Burnley Road, Accrington, overnight last Thurs-day.
David said: "It’s virtually in my hand all the time. I’ve done countless works with it – not just headstones. I’ve worked on churches in the past. We’ve got a replacement but every time I pick it up it’s not the same. I still carve and letter everything by hand."
David shut up shop at about 4pm on Thursday and says neighbours hadn’t heard anything by 10pm.
"He arrived at the works soon after 8.30am on Friday so he believes the burglary must have taken place sometime between 10pm and the morning.
The hammer is seven to eight inches long, square with a wooden shaft, and the hammer head is about an inch-and-a-half long.
David added: "When you’ve had something so long it becomes part of you. It just fits in your hand like a glove. I’ve also lost drills, axes and hacksaws but I’m not bothered about them. I just want my hammer back."
Police are appealing to anyone who saw what happened or knows who is responsible to contact them on 0845 125 3545 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
A spokesman said: "We are investigating a burglary at a work- shop at Hillside Memorials. Offen-ders forced their way into the workshop and made off with £135 worth of items including a hammer, a hacksaw, two chisels and five rolls of lead."