Minibus worth £22,000 stolen from air cadets in Fareham
A minibus bought after four years of fundraising has been stolen from an air cadet squadron in Fareham.
The white Ford Transit minibus, which has nine seats and a large storage area, was reported missing from Squadron 1350 premises on Farm Road, Titchfield, on Wednesday morning.
Sector Commander Flight Lieutenant Debbie Herniman said police believe the thieves will have the minibus ‘broken down for spare parts’ – whilst the cadets face cancelled activities.
She said: ‘It’s frustating we cannot do the activities we want to do – we have some camping trips coming up and they might have to change.
‘We have over 60 cadets in the unit, so one bus is not sufficient.
‘We’re going to have to cut back on activities.
‘The vehicles have been purchased from fundraising from the cadets and the committee – It took a lot of hard work.’
It took the cadets four years of fundraising, through stewarding at community events and selling raffle tickets, to afford the minibus bought in 2012, which has been used extensively to get the squadron to weekend trips and national competitions.
The community’s reaction to the air cadet’s plight has left Debbie ‘overwhelmed', with the thousands of people sharing an appeal for help on social media.
She said: ‘It's heart warming seeing the responses from the community
‘Eaton Aerospace has let us park our other minibus on their site for increased security.
‘And we are talking to PHVC, a minibus leasing company, about sourcing a replacement.’
Mayor of Fareham, Pamela Bryant, who is supporting the Squadron as one of her choosen Mayor's Charities, said she was 'devestated' to hear of their setback.
She said: 'They are such a fantastic group, helping young people at an impressionable age.
'My late husband gave the group money for a minibus 12 years ago, but this is the first time they have been supported by the Mayor's Charities.
‘And I'm really delighted with the community’s reaction.'
Anyone wishing to support the group through the Mayor's Charities can send a cheque donation to The Mayor's Office, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Fareham PO16 7AZ