Unrelenting thieves must be caught

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A £1,000 reward is being offered for information relating to a series of thefts that have devastated a transport charity.

Go START, which provides transport for the elderly, disabled and schoolchildren in Sudbury, has been targeted by thieves on six occasions since being launched last year.

In half of these incidents, the group’s depot on Chilton Industrial Estate has been targeted by raiders who have badly damaged the building and, in one instance, fled with a mobility scooter worth thousands of pounds.

On another three occasions, metal thieves have stolen catalytic converters from the charity’s fleet of buses, with the most recent theft taking place on Thursday, May 21.

John Phillips, Go START founder and transport manager, said the thefts were having a serious impact on the charity and had resulted in vital vehicles being off the road for a number of weeks.

“The people who engage in this sort of crime either do not know the huge effects their actions have on the community or are just cold-heartedly selfish,” he said.

“Many people rely on our provision of transport in order to carry out simple daily tasks such as shopping or visiting a doctor, and they are being robbed of this help through the greed of others.”

Mr Phillips added that in order to get to the root of the thefts, the group had linked up with crime fighting charity Crimestoppers, which is offering a £1,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

“We try to provide a service for all those who qualify and need transport and to continue to do this we need the public to contact Crimestoppers with information about the damage we have been unjustly subject to,” added Mr Phillips.

Ann Scott, eastern regional manager for Crimestoppers, urged people to come forward.

“When a theft occurs, the bus can be out of action for weeks, even months, and it is costing the charity dearly,” she said.

“Thieves may think this is a victimless crime but their actions are affecting innocent members of the public.”

q Anyone with information should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.