Thieves have targeted a Harrogate-based charity and stolen a bus which provides a lifeline for vulnerable and elderly people.
The van, owned by the Little Red Bus company and worth around £43,000 new, was used by thieves as a getaway car after they broke into a garage in Bentham near Skipton.
And while the bus is based at the charity’s Craven office and used to help people who live in the area, it will have to be replaced and the impact will be felt by users of the service in Harrogate.
“They broke into our little office and stole money as well,” said Lyn Costelloe, the charity’s chief executive.
“They took the keys to another vehicle as well, so we can’t use that.
“It just puts more pressure on us all really.”
The charity, which provides transport for the elderly, vulnerable and isolated, took over services in Bentham earlier this year and shares resources, staff and transport from its Harrogate base.
It aims to provide accessible and affordable transport to enable people to retain their independence and lead normal lives, reducing pressure on public services and funds.
The theft of the white Iveco van on Saturday night, along with around £300 in cash, will impact on the charity’s ability to meet its demands, said Mrs Costelloe.
“People desperately need the service,” she said.
“And at a time when we are cutting down, it makes everything more difficult.”
Anyone with information about the theft of the van, registration Y159 YBJ, is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0845 6060247.