THIS is the moment burglars cave in the ceiling of a PPE workshop as its owners manufacture face masks below.
James McConville and girlfriend Kathryn Stephens were described their “pure terror” after three men attempted to enter their premises in Aintree, Liverpool via the roof on 9 May.
Instead, the would-be thieves ended up crashing through the asbestos clad ceiling, showering the couple with debris and leaving a gaping hole.
James and Kathryn, who had been making PPE for NHS and essential workers at the time, then had to stop production while the premises was repaired.
CCTV footage captured the moment the roof collapsed, as well as the thieves making their escape.
As the clip begins, a deluge of debris is seen tumbling from the sky.
James then bursts into the room and starts pointing and shouting at one of the burglars.
He then checks on Kathryn who is sat mere feet away from the avalanche of asbestos.
The couple looked gobsmacked as they try to make sense of what has happened.
Another clip shows the culprits running away from the scene.
Extensive photos show the damage caused to the roof and to a laptop which Kathryn had been working on at the time of the roof collapse.
James took to Facebook to share the incident, saying: “At 22:12 on May 9 whilst me and my girlfriend Kathryn were working late making face shields, my workshop got broken into but instead of breaking through a window or door, they smashed through the roof.
“In a matter of seconds they smashed three huge holes in the asbestos roof directly above where Kathryn was sitting.
“I looked up and saw a hooded person leaning over the hole, he looked me dead in the eye before running off over the roof scared.
“It’s hard to keep faith when things like this happen.
“Especially when you’ve spent every waking hour of the past six weeks and thousands of pounds of your own money to provide PPE to our NHS and essential workers then something like this happens and crushes your spirits, some karma right?
“Obviously, face shield production will have to stop while I work on securing the workshop and get everything sorted out.”
The video has angered many in the comments.
Alex Tierney said: “Oh my God absolute horrors! Hope you’re ok James and you Kathryn.”
Brenda Mcconville added: “I’ve only just seen this the horrible b******* how dare they, hope they get caught low life scum hope you are both ok.”
And Samantha McNulty wrote: “Oh my god, what an absolute scumbag! Hope you’re both okay.”
James today said it took over a week to repair the damage.
He said: “My initial reaction was pure terror, as I didn’t expect the roof to be smashed in, and to see people looking down into the workshop and I didn’t know what their intentions were.
“That fear only lasted for a second until my reaction was to shout at them and they ran off, across the roof and out of the industrial estate.
“I didn’t know if it was a targeted attack intending to steal the 3D printers or not so I didn’t know how much they knew about who we were or what we were doing.
“The biggest impact is that it took over a week to repair the damages and make the workshop secure again to carry on making PPE.
“In the amount of time it took I could have made an additional 5,000 face shields which are really needed sooner rather than later.
“Although they didn’t manage to steal anything, they’ve robbed PPE from more than 5,000 essential healthcare workers, which is the main point.”
Thankfully James and Kathryn are back making PPE for the NHS and essential workers in their repaired workshop.
You can support their efforts here.
Police attended the scene shortly after the incident.
A spokesman from Merseyside Police said: “We were called at 10.15pm on Saturday 9th May to reports of an attempted burglary at premises on Nelson Industrial Estate on Long Lane in Walton.
“Officers were called after a male, wearing dark clothing and with his face covered, caused damage to the roof of the premises. He fled the area before patrols arrived.
“A search of the area and CCTV enquiries have been carried out.
“Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 20000268692.”