Thieves damage vintage police cars, ambulances and fire engines in Sheffield wrecking spree
Vintage police cars, ambulances and fire engines have been damaged by vandals in a wrecking spree in Sheffield.
Tyres, engine parts and equipment were stolen from vehicles, and windscreens and door windows were smashed at a storage depot housing 18 emergency services vehicles.
All but three were damaged in the wrecking spree.
The vehicles are owned by the National Emergency Services Museum, based at West Bar in Sheffield city centre.
Around 50 vehicles are based at the museum full time, with the rest of the collection – another 110 – based at two storage depots elsewhere in Sheffield.
The damage was discovered when museum staff and volunteers arrived at one of the storage facilities last Thursday to move the 18 vehicles kept there to a new facility at Magna in Rotherham.
The site was closed by Sheffield City Council earlier this year and the museum was given notice to move its vehicles but because of a lack of alternatives available, police cars, fire engines and ambulances were left there while alternative premises were found.
Some of the vehicles were found to have been left on bricks when museum staff and volunteers arrived at the depot last week and three vehicles were so badly damaged they have to be scrapped.
Matthew Wakefield, the museum's CEO, said: "After a lot of worry about where we would be able to safely store these vehicles it was such a relief when Magna kindly stepped in to offer us a temporary new home for this part of our collection.
“Local companies and museum volunteers gave up their time to help transport the vehicles out of Sheffield last week on one of the wettest days of the year. So it was just heart-breaking to find that someone had been able to access the site and do such damage to items in our collection.
“That's one reason why this is so distressing. After learning we had to move from our storage site our volunteers, local businesses and Magna all stepped in to help us out of a really tricky and worrying situation. So the fact that just a few people can ruin it is very upsetting for all of us."
Some of the museum’s collection will be on display at the Christmas Lights switch-on event in Sheffield city centre on Sunday, November 17, where visitors will be able to explore vehicles not usually on display to the public.
Mr Wakefield added: "It will cost us around £40,000 per year to keep our historic fleet under cover and on the road.
“We are an entirely self-funded museum and receive no money at all from the local authority or local government, so everything we spend we have to earn.
“We also rely so much on the support and goodwill from local businesses, organisations and individuals and, of course, our fantastic visitors.”
Over recent years, the museum’s visitor numbers have grown from 7,000 visitors per year to over 30,000 annually.
Anyone with information about the wrecking spree should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.