A school for children with severe and complex learning needs in Knowsley is appealing for help after heartless thieves stole their minibus whilst pupils were enjoying a school trip.
A group of post-16 pupils from Bluebell Park school in Kirkby were on a trip to IKEA at Gemini Retail Park, Warrington today, as part of work they are doing to help them develop their independence skills, focusing on using money and interacting in social situations.
Unfortunately, when the group returned to the car park they found that the specially adapted minibus they’d used to get to the store had been stolen.
CCTV footage reveals that the minibus, a Silver Ford Minibus, registration MV58 NCE, had been stolen by two thieves not long after it had been parked up, in a disabled bay, at about 10.22am.
The bus is plain silver but is recognisable because of its specialist tail lift that enables wheelchairs to access the vehicle.
Minibus is vital for pupils
Head teacher Jamie Campbell said: “The minibus is a central part of our pupils’ curriculum, in providing our students with experiences in real life environments, to practice independence skills that are vital for our students.
“Without this it means that we are unable to provide the variety of experiences that our pupils need and deserve. The minibus is used daily, it is one of three that are in constant use to help us deliver such important community based learning for our pupils.”
The school is now appealing for anyone who has information about the whereabouts of the bus to please contact the police. They hope to have the minibus returned if possible because it is such a vital part of school life.
“Shocking and disheartening”
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “It’s shocking and disheartening that thieves could target a minibus from any school, especially when this particular bus is so essential to the ability of pupils at Bluebell Park to get out and about and get the best educational experiences possible.
“I’d appeal for anyone who can help the school with information about the whereabouts of the bus to contact the police.”
Can you help locate the stolen minibus?
If you have information please call either 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, all information will be treated in confidence.
As well as the non-urgent 101 number and the social media desk, you can also report non-urgent crimes in a number of different ways including a direct email account – COMMCEN@merseyside.pnn.police.uk or via the force’s website.