A GOFUNDME page set up to raise money for a digger driver who trashed a Travelodge over his unpaid wages has topped £5,000.
The labourer, named as 35-year-old John Manley, was filmed ramming the digger into the front of the hotel in Liverpool.
It was claimed that John carried out the digger rampage – captured in dramatic footage – in an act of desperation when his £600 wages were not paid on time.
Well-wishers set up a crowdfunding page to help raise cash for John and were delighted to see it reach £5,000 – smashing the original £600 target.
Jack Wellon created the page and said “John is a hard-working man who wasn’t given his wages”.
He said: “I’d like to say thank you for everyone who’s donated to John, from speaking to his family he’s a hard-working man who wasn’t given his wages.
“He’s been having a rough time but got this job last minute.”
HE’S A LEGEND
The former builder, from Staunton, near Gloucester, said many people who work in a trade encounter “similar situations week in, week out” regarding unpaid wages.
He wrote: “It’s amazing to see all the workmen, families and everyone helping chip together to support this guy after he really stood up for himself and his wages.”
One man replied: “The man’s a legend! Standing up for the hard-working man, Too many companies not paying their workers what is owed!”
It comes as John’s family said he had been seeking mental health treatment for weeks and is currently in hospital.
His cousin Jason Pellegrini, 43, denied reports that his cousin had been paid but failed to check – claiming John does not even have a bank account.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he added that John’s family are angry about the lack of specialist mental health services in Sefton, Merseyside – which he had been seeking for “weeks” before he “snapped”.
HE’S NO ANGEL
Mr Pellegrini said of Londoner John: “He’s had a very, very bad life. He’s not an angel; we don’t want to portray him as an angel.
“We have been trying to get him help but there’s such a long waiting list. It’s not down to the health care professionals but it’s a lack of resources in Sefton.
“We are not condoning what he did at all; someone could have been seriously hurt and he’s not a national hero like some people have been making out.
“He is very troubled and it’s something when he has had to do what he did to get the kind of help he needs.”
Mr Pellegrini added that John had no fixed address and struggled to pay for essentials.
John tried to call his boss all weekend, Mr Pellegrini said, but received no response.
Mr Pellegrini added: “I think in the end he just snapped. He said to me he would not have done it if he’d had an explanation.”
Someone could have been seriously hurt and he’s not a national hero like some people have been making out.
The driver’s cousin
Police are set to quiz the digger driver after he was tracked down in the Merseyside area.
Triton Construction, the main contractor for the Travelodge site, said there was no major structural damage to the hotel.
John’s employer MF Constructions – hired to carry out part of the work – has been accused by several anonymous contractors of problems with receiving their wages.
One told the Echo that they failed to receive £1,100 for work – and that others had lost even more.
Workman John was filmed trashing the Edge Lane hotel in Liverpool Innovation Park at around 3pm yesterday while screaming “if you’d just paid me my f***ing £600”.
Co-workers at the site today claimed a banking glitch meant their Friday wages were paid on Monday – but the rampaging tradesman hadn’t realised.
The labourer ran from the scene seconds before police arrived at the site and another worker was treated for minor injuries.
It is understood the damage, re-building work and the delayed opening of the hotel could cost up to £500,000.
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A Merseyside Police spokesman said: “A man has since been located and will be interviewed as part of the ongoing investigation.
“One man experienced eye irritation due to exposure to diesel and was treated at the scene by North West Ambulance Service.
“It is not believed anyone else was injured during the incident.”