A Wirral hospice has been left with a £1,200 repair bill after a vital piece of its minibus was stolen.
St John’s Hospice’s minibus has been taken off the road meaning the facility has been left without the use of the vehicle that takes patients to and from its building for treatment and support.
The theft was not detected until the hospice’s driver attempted to use the vehicle to collect patients on Tuesday morning.
Confused as to what was wrong with the minibus, he took it to a local garage where mechanics informed him the catalytic converter had been removed.
The garage has offered the hospice a reduced rate, but repairing the vehicle will still cost at least £1,200.
Elaine Pugh, the hospice’s outpatients’ services manager, said: “It’s disgusting that someone would do this. Our patient minibus is a lifeline to patients who are critically ill and need to access the Hospice for care and support.
“I can’t believe someone would stoop so low as to steal from a Hospice without any thought to the impact and upheaval their theft would cause. It’s heartbreaking really.”
The theft is believed to have taken place late on Monday night, after the hospice’s night watchman spotted a man “lurking” by the vehicle. When he approached the man he ran away.
The man is described as in his 20s. Police are appealing for witnesses and CCTV from the area is being examined.
Jim Steel, neighbourhood sergeant, said: “I find it very difficult to comprehend how anyone could stoop so low as to steal things from a hospice. The minibus is used to help transport staff and patients and I’m sure the whole community in Bebington will share my desire to see the person or people responsible brought before the courts.”
“I’d urge anyone who has seen anything suspicious in the area since Friday night, or has any other information, to get in touch with us. The information may seem trivial, but it could help us identify the person or people responsible for this deplorable crime.”