Vandals attack Havering disabled charity’s bus

Disabled people’s trips will have to be cancelled after their minibus was vandalised in Romford.

The Mercedes Sprinter minibus, which belongs to the Havering Multiple Sclerosis Society, is specially adapted for wheelchair users.

Vandals broke into the vehicle, let two fire extinguishers off over the seats and floor, broke the steering column casing and smashed a sky light. There is also damage to the chairlift, which means users have no access to the minibus.

It was broken into between Thursday, March 9 and Saturday, March 11, while parked at the car-a-drome in Upper Rainham Road.

Kevin Watts, a committee member for the society and the main driver of the vehicle, said: “Whilst the minibus is off the road all forthcoming trips will have to be cancelled.

“It isn’t just the inconvenience. Whilst the minibus is insured, the society will still have to find the excess and higher premiums if they lose their no claims bonus.

“This money can only come from donations that would have been put to much better use, had this not happened.”

Most Read

But the society said because the vehicle is more than 15 years old the branch committee is now considering whether the repair bill is viable.

The running costs for the minibus are more than ₤1,500 a year.

Mr Watts added: “With the new low emissions charge the Mayor of London will be bringing in from January 2012 on older vehicles and the recent vandalism, the branch may not have the money to keep the minibus on the road.”

Police said the vandals entered via the sun roof. There was no CCTV footage available of the incident, but forensic samples have been taken and police are awaiting the results of these.

If anyone has any information they can contact the local safer neighbourhood team on 0300 123 1212.