Specialist vehicle which transports vulnerable adults to Walsall day centre is stolen

A specialised wheelchair-friendly vehicle which is used to transport vulnerable adults with learning disabilities has been stolen from outside a day centre in Walsall.

The vehicle was stolen from Harmony Care in Walsall
The vehicle was stolen from Harmony Care in Walsall

The van was stolen from secure grounds at the Harmony Care on Stoney Lane in Bloxwich at around 10pm on Monday.

Staff at the centre say that CCTV footage shows the thieves using a grinder to break through the chain and lock to steal the vehicle, which is dark blue and has the registration SF69 FYV.

Sadly, the vehicle was going to transport service users on a holiday to Blackpool in September to stay in a disabled-friendly hotel that specialises in catering for adults with additional needs.

However, the trip is now in jeopardy as there is no guarantee that a replacement vehicle can be found in time.

Kristy Goode from Harmony Care said: "Our service users have been unable to attend today, causing upset and disruption to their routine.

"We have all been greatly saddened that such a crime has been committed at the cost of the most vulnerable of our community.

"This is a specially adapted vehicle with a tail lift for wheelchair users with modified wheelchairs that standard transport doesn’t allow access.

"Such vehicles are not easily replaced, meaning we could be without a vehicle for a long period.

"It was planned this vehicle was transporting our service users to their holiday in September and we cannot ensure we will have a replacement in time.

"This again causes upset to all.

"We are appealing for the return of our vehicle to enable the continuation of services being provided to our vulnerable community.

"If you see this abandoned anywhere please give the office a call on 01922 642967."

Other staff members have spoken out, including Sarah Pearce, who said: "I'm disheartened that there are such cruel people in the world that could even contemplate robbing from the disabled, something so valuable to the service users too, angry and frustrated for them."

Julie Kyle added: "It’s upsetting to think how this has affected our service users who depend on this transport every day. Absolutely disgusted at the lowlife that have done this, they just don’t care."

Linsay Grew said: "It’s heartbreaking knowing that we all try and provide as much routine and independence in their lives, which has now been taken away, they don’t care what impact this is having on our service users."

Julie Ivory, who works within the Hub, added: "I feel really sad for our service users whose routine has been upset by this theft.

"The opportunity to enjoy days out has been taken away from them. Not to mention how some of our service users rely on this transport.

"This van is more valuable to our service users than these thieves could ever imagine."

The centre provides domiciliary care, supportive living, live-in-care, and community support for adults and children living with learning and physical disabilities in Walsall.

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: “We received a report yesterday (26 April) that a mini bus had being stolen from Little Bloxwich Hospice on Stoney Lane, Walsall.

"It’s believed that entry was gained through the locked gates after a chain and padlock were damaged between 5pm on Monday (25 April) and 8.30am yesterday.

"Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to get in touch quoting crime reference 20/410513/22.”

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