A KIND-HEARTED plumber pulled out all the stops when he heard how a hard-working barmaid at his local pub had her bike stolen while she worked.
Kath Cronin was working her shift at the Owton Lodge pub on Saturday when a sneak thief made off with her bike which she had left parked behind the pub.
Kath, 18, regularly works at the pub to earn some cash as she studies a university illustration course at Cleveland College of Art & Design in Church Square.
She cycles to the pub from her home in Oxford Road to save money on buses and taxis so she can make ends meet as a student.
Andrew Chatterton, who runs town firm AA&G Plumbing, was having a meal in the pub with his wife Lisa when he heard about the theft, and was so touched by Kath’s attitude to the theft that as soon as he had finished his food, he went out and bought her a replacement.
Andrew, who lives in Caistor Drive with Lisa and children Adam, 16, and eight-year-old Grace, said: “I asked what had happened, and Kath just said that whoever stole the bike must have needed it more than she did.
“I just felt sorry for her. We are regulars in that pub, she works as much as she can while she studies and she relies on that bike to get to and from her shifts.
“We were in for Christmas lunch and she was working that day as well, she’s a good kid and she’s very hard-working.
“She didn’t deserve that, she would have been lost without a bike.”
Andrew and Lisa went straight to Halfords on Brenda Road and shelled out £100 on a new mountain bike to help Kath out.
After hearing of the couple’s goodwill, Owton Lodge boss Mark Wright immediately paid them half the cash to help them out.
Andrew added: “It just seemed like the right thing to do.
“Kath is from Middlesbrough but is living in Hartlepool while she studies here. We have a son who is a couple of years younger than her, and we would like to think someone would do the same for him when he is in the same boat a couple of years down the line.
“It is hard enough for students to make ends meet without someone stealing from them.”
Kath, who reported the theft of the Magna blue and red trails bike to police, said: “I was surprised and shocked when they bought me the new bike, and I’m very grateful.
“I’ve worked in the pub since March and I’ve always cycled to work to try and save some money. I rely on it and I’d have been lost without it, so I’m so thankful that they have bought me another one as I couldn’t have afforded to replace it.”