Feb 12 2013 By Jack Griffith
THE national tour of the ‘world’s greatest’ Eagles tribute band is in jeopardy after the van carrying stage equipment was stolen in Hayes.
Guitarist Garreth Hicklin, 31, was visiting his girlfriend in Holmbury Gardens, off Church Road, when his yellow Mercedes Sprinter van, parked yards from the front window, was driven off.
See Garreth's video below
Mr Hicklin, who joined acclaimed tribute act The Illegal Eagles in 2010, said he was ‘devastated’ by the theft.
“I was in the front room when my girlfriend’s mum came down the stairs saying that she thought I was staying the night.
“When she saw me sitting there, she said ‘your van’s reversing away’, and when we realised what had happened I wanted the world to swallow me up.
“They were very quick. There was no broken glass and they must have gained entry using a key.
“The van itself is not important, but my whole livelihood was in that van.
“The people who took it don’t have the first clue how important it is to me. The band and my family have all been affected by the trauma.”
The Illegal Eagles’ Heaven Heats Up tour is due to start in Cambridge on March 1, with a date at Hayes’s Beck Theatre confirmed for March 14.
Without some of their crucial touring equipment, however, they face having to cancel dates and a potential bill of up to £500,000 if they cannot fulfil their contractual obligations.
A custom-made Garrison acoustic guitar, a cased mandolin, pedal boards, with effects specially programmed over the years, and amplifiers were kept in the reinforced boot.
Mr Hicklin, from Reading, is a carpenter by day, and his trade tools were also stored in the van when it was taken.
It is estimated that the value of the goods stolen is about £30,000.
In a bid to raise awareness about the theft, on the evening of January 31, and catch those responsible, Mr Hicklin has made a YouTube video appealing for information, which has been shared on Twitter and viewed nearly 1,800 times in less than two weeks.
The van’s number plate is EK03 CVD and the theft is being investigated by Hillingdon police. If you have any information about this crime, or know of the whereabouts of the van, call 101.