POLICE have warned vehicle owners to keep their vehicles secure following the theft of catalytic convertors from buses parked at a Bridlington day centre.
The valuable parts were stolen from four vehicles at Priory View day centre on Marton Road, two from Ford Iveco vans and two from Renault Mini buses, leaving service users stranded until replacements could be found.
According to a spokesperson for East Riding of Yorkshire Council which owns the vehicles, the repair bill is likely to be around £8,000.
“We have managed to get one vehicle back on the road but at the moment we are not sure when it will be possible to get the others back,” he said.
The thefts occurred overnight between 5.30pm on Monday November 28 and 7am on Tuesday November 29, while all four vehicles were parked on the premises.
Sgt Steve Dove, of the Bridlington Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The problem is two-fold. Parts are stolen for scrap metal and it is something that as a force we are looking at closely as the problem of metal theft grows.
“But when catalytic convertors are stolen, if they are kept intact, they are sometimes sold on as spare parts and become more valuable as they are very expensive to buy new.
“Anyone working in garages, or people needing repairs to their cars, should be on the lookout for anything suspicious.
“Also, as difficult as it is for some, we would advise to keep your vehicle locked and secured, park in a garage if you have the option, or if not to park in a well-lit, highly visible area to deter thieves.”
Police are currently operating a crack down on increasing incidents of metal theft, with officers regularly visiting scrap metal dealers in the area.
The vehicles bring users, with learning difficulties, to the centre, and to take elderly visitors to nearby Applegarth Court day centre.
John Fortnum, team leader at Priory View, said that the thefts had caused “lots of confusion” for users and staff at the centre.
“We managed to get everyone in on the day with the help of other centres and replacement vehicles being sent by the council, but some activities were affected on Tuesday and it caused lots of confusion and inconvenience for everyone,” said Mr Fortnum.
“We have had users asking us all week how they would be getting home that afternoon, it is a worry for them.”
Mr Fortnum said that while vehicles parked on the premises had been affected by diesel thefts in the past, they have never experienced thefts of parts.
“I was watching a report on Look North on the Monday evening about the problem of metal theft and then we heard this had happened on the Tuesday morning.
“I can’t speculate on the cost of the repairs, but a large wagon had to come to take the vehicles away for repair, and from now on the vehicles will be locked away every night at Carnaby, so there will be the extra cost to bring them from there and back every day.
“Whatever the cost, it had a big effect on all of our staff and users.”
Police are appealing for anyone who may have information to call Humberside Police telephone number 101, quoting crime reference number 1877446.