The two ‘Brengun’ Ford T-16 universal carriers were taken from Askeys Transport on Monksbridge Road at some point after they arrived there from Argentina last month.
The tanks were due to be collected by the Sheffield Sea Cadets, with one to be used as a ‘gate guard’ at their Rutland Road base and the other sold, possibly for up to £25,000.
But when Sheffield Sea Cadet First Lieutenant Chris Camps came to collect the tanks yesterday, the depot said they had already been picked up by someone else.
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“I was stunned and flabbergasted - I could not believe it,” said Chris.
“Why they would just let someone off the street take away two vehicles I have no idea. They are worth a lot of money.”
Chris said the tanks are not yet drivable vehicles but could eventually be made road legal and registered to drive in Britain.
This means the tanks must have been taken away on a lorry or low-loader, but Chris says he has so far got nowhere with Askeys.
“I said I am not going anywhere until you tell me where they have gone but they just weren’t very helpful,” he said.
After reporting the matter to the police, Chris said he waited for an officer at the depot for four hours, but no one ever turned up.
And now he says the police have imposed an order on the one remaining tank at the depot meaning he can’t take it away until they find the other ones.
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said they were currently investigating the matter in an attempt to establish the facts.
A spokesperson for Askeys was not immediately available for comment.
Brengun carriers were used widely by British Commonwealth forces during the Second World War.
The vehicles were usually used for transporting personnel and equipment, mostly support weapons, or as machine gun platforms.
With some 113,000 built by 1960 in the United Kingdom and abroad, the carrier was the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history.