A locksmith says the theft of £6,000 worth of his tools could bring his career to an end.
Glenn Froud, 50, had left the equipment in his van in Riverdale Road, Bexley, near his home, while he enjoyed a rare holiday.
Between the evening of August 1 and the next morning, thieves broke in and stole a decade's worth of tools.
The father-of-four, who was close to tears when speaking to News Shopper, said: "I was camping in Hastings at the time. It was my first break for years.
"My son called me up to tell me what happened and I felt sick when I realised.
"The people who buy the tools are just as bad as those who stole them. They have no conscience.
"The insurance company might not pay because there are no visible signs of a break-in.
"I think they used a jiggle key - this is made to fit most standard car door locks and by jiggling, can loosen the pins in the lock causing the door to open."
Mr Froud always has to keep the van loaded with locksmith tools because he works on call 24/7.
He now fears the situation could destroy his career.
He said: "If the insurance company won’t pay - it doesn’t bear thinking about it. Even if they do pay, it’ll only be around £1,500.
"I didn’t realise how much it was all worth.
"You don’t realise when you’re slowly building it up.
"I’ve just got work in George Higgins Tool Shop in Station Road, Sidcup, to help me get back on my feet and the manager has been really supportive and is lending me tools.
"But I don’t know how I’ll carry on in my career. It’s been horrible."
A Bexley Police spokesman said: "Officers are investigating the theft of tools from a van in Riverdale Road. No arrests have been made and enquiries continue."
WHAT WAS TAKEN?
- One bag of hand tools
- Four drills
- One box of locksmith tools
- Three saws
- One electrical wood plainer
- One nail gun
- Two grinder tools