Rotherham kids club minibus found burned out two weeks after it was stolen

A minibus stolen from a not-for-profit Rotherham kids club has been found abandoned and burned out two weeks after it was stolen - in Wigan, Grtr Manchester.

By Ben McVay
Monday, 31st August 2020, 2:23 pm

The 17-seater Ford Transit - worth £15,000 - was used by Wickersley Kids Club to collect children from schools.

It was found in a remote area of Wigan yesterday (Sunday) with its engine missing and gutted by fire after it was stolen from the club’s Greenfield Court premises on August 17.

The social enterprise - who provide after school activities for vulnerable children from low-income families - say they are ‘devastated’ by the theft.

The minibus - found in Wigan burnt-out with its engine missing

The club - who have had no income since closing in March due to Covid-19 and have not qualified for Government financial help - now have just a few days to find another minibus in time for their reopening on September 7.

Adrian Harvey, project lead at the Wickersley Kids Club, said: “It’s a horrendous situation - talk about kicking you when you’re down.

“We’ve not earned a penny since March then two weeks before we were set to reopen someone does this.

“It’s just a devastating blow - the police say there’s been a spate of stolen transits for their engines.

The minibus during a seaside outing

“To whoever stole it it’s just an engine but they’ve left us without essential transport for people who really need it.”

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Video footage of the theft shows thieves breaking into the minibus and making off with it in under seven minutes - using a grinder to break through chains on gates at the Greenfield Court premises.

Gutted Adrian told how the club provided breakfast clubs, after school clubs and holiday clubs at an affordable rate for struggling families.

Wickersley Kids Club project lead Adrian Harvey

Last year over 1,200 children used their services.

With an insurance payout likely to provide only a third of the value of the lifeline van Adrian says the kids club needs help to fund the shortfall in cash for a new minibus.

Rotherham United have stepped in offering to loan them a minibus in the short term however to make a donation and help Wickersley Kids Club buy a new one click HERE.

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The minibus - found in Wigan after being stolen two weeks ago