Coffee maker back in business but doubts remain over his vintage van

    Mr Crick with his vandalised van

    A POPULAR Tonbridge coffee maker says the generosity of the local community saved his business after his van was vandalised in October.

    Jem Crick received a total of £1,730 from 232 contributors via an online crowd-funding page who wanted to support the much-loved barista, after his ‘Mochafella Coffee’ van was attacked and broken into.

    His tyres were also slashed and the coffee grinder inside the van was ‘completely destroyed’ during the attack

    Then shortly afterwards, just to add to Mr Crick’s misery, the coffee machine in his other van broke, leaving him unable to provide any service to his regulars and visitors to the area.

    But hundreds of online donors agreed to buy a ‘virtual coffee’ from Mr Crick, to replicate a normal period of trade for him.

    And the support from donors has kept his business afloat. He explained that £1,000 of the contributions ‘directly replaced’ the trade he lost during the October half-term. £350 went to buying a replacement coffee machine for his other van and £300 went towards covering the salary of an employee Stefan.

    He also received £400 from his church, Tonbridge Baptist, to help him through the difficult period.

    Although he is yet to hear from his insurance company, he expects that the ‘unique nature’ of his Citroen HY Vintage 1967 van means he will just receive compensation rather than it being repaired. He had only bought the van in April 2016.

    Following a ‘period of downtime’ at end of last year, Mr Crick was back trading on Saturday near Tonbridge Park.

    He said: “I’m feeling more positive now. I can’t let it keep me down.”

    On Monday, Mr Crick was told by police there has been a forensic match from the blood found in the van. The suspect is set to be interviewed next week.07