Drivers 'devastated' after minibuses used to take disabled children to school are stolen
Written by The Newsroom on January 15, 2020
STAFF at a Burntwood minibus hire company were left “devastated” after thieves stole vehicles it uses to take disabled children to and from school.
The theft, from Travel Wood Ltd was discovered on Sunday morning (January 12).
Three Ford Transit minibuses – one white, silver and red were taken at around 1.30am while another was taken from an employee’s drive.
It is believed the thieves climbed over the 6ft fence and then smashed through the gate at Travel Wood’s premises in Cobbett Road on Burntwood Industrial Estate.
The company’s director Richard Howell told the Mercury: “We mainly transport disabled children to school.
We are contracted by Staffordshire County Council to take them to Saxon Hill, Rocklands and Queen’s Croft in Lichfield and to schools in Cannock.
“Monday morning (January 13) was a nightmare – we were not able to pick up all the children.
“It is heartless that they do this to disabled children who can’t get to school without us.”
Mr Howell said Travel Wood Ltd’s drivers love their work and are dedicated to the children they transport.
“We pick up dozens of children from home, take them to school then pick them up at the end of the day and take them home.
“Our staff are devastated – It is heartbreaking.”
One of the minibuses, a red Transit, was recovered in Ryecroft Place Walsall on Monday and a white transit was found in Coalpool, Walsall on Tuesday.
The red minibus has had its dashboard ripped out and the white one, which is being checked over by forensic officers, has been damaged police confirmed.
Of the two missing minibuses the silver one has been specially adapted for wheelchairs.
Travel Wood, which runs 25 minibuses, say this has affected its ability to operate because it cannot simply hire a replacement as the minibuses it uses have to be specially licensed.
CCTV footage captured the five suspects in the yard.
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “Police were called at 11.25am on Sunday (January 12) to a report of a break-in at a business premises on Cobbett Road in Burntwood.
“Three Ford Transit minibuses (white, silver and red) were stolen at around 1.30am after several offenders forced entry to the yard area.
“Any witnesses, or anyone with any information can contact 101, quoting incident number 257 of 12 January.”
Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via Birmingham Mail - Cannock News