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Staff left ‘devastated’ as hunt on to find stolen disabled minibuses

By Dayna Farrington | Burntwood | Crime | Published: | Last Updated:

Staff at a Burntwood travel company have been left devastated after thieves stole four minibuses which they use to take disabled children to and from school.

Travelwood Minibus Hire managing director Julie Howell and manager Rob Lawrence

Travelwood Minibus Hire, based on the Burntwood Industrial Estate, is now appealing for help in tracing the remaining buses that have been stolen.

The first bus, a Ford Transit with the registration AM59 NHH, was stolen from the driveway of a staff member's home in Shelley Road, in Burntwood, at around 12.40am on January 11.

But staff were left even more shocked when three more of their vehicles were stolen from their base off Cobbett Road in the early hours the next morning.

WATCH: CCTV shows minibus thieves in action

Thieves steal minibuses used to transport disabled children

All three buses were Ford Transit vehicles – with registration numbers BL09 RBF, DL59 GME and YK09 UOV.

One bus - BL09 RBF - was later recovered in Walsall.

A second – DL59 GME – was later found in the Coalpool area of Walsall, which police believe may have been used in a shop raid and has been held for forensic testing.

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But the search is still on for the remaining two buses.

Julie Howell, managing director at Travelwood, said: "They stole the first 16-seater bus off a driver's drive in Burntwood in the early hours of the Saturday morning. In the early hours of Sunday morning four to five people smashed a padlock off our yard gates to steal another three buses.

"We use the buses to transport disabled children to school and back.

"One of the buses was recovered near Leamore in Walsall on Monday, and on Tuesday police informed us they had found another one in the Coalport area. They [police] believe it may have been used in a raid in the Walsall area so they have kept it for testing.

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"We are still technically three vehicles down. We take disabled children to and from schools in the Lichfield and Cannock areas.

"It has been quite difficult for all involved. It has left us all devastated. We are appealing for the public's help to look out for the other two vehicles that are still missing."

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."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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