Charity vandals leave trail of destruction in raid on Wibsey garage (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Charity vandals leave trail of destruction in raid on Wibsey garage
Cars were stolen, vehicles sprayed with lewd grafitti and a garage trashed in a malicious two-and-a-half-hour destructive raid on a charity base.
Thieves struck at St Enochs Garage in Wibsey, leaving a trail of carnage as they smashed windows, ripped a burglar alarm from the wall, stole up to 50 sets of car keys and wrote off a car – attacking its windows, bodywork and lights with a hammer and spraying it with paint.
Vulgar grafitti was scrawled across walls, furniture over-turned, glass cabinets shattered and computer monitors and cameras taken during the attack which went on until early yesterday.
Peter Burke runs the garage with Adrian Woods and estimates it will cost £100,000 to replace the stolen items and make good the extensive damage.
The charity’s insurance will not cover a lot of the costs.
He said: “It’s absolutely diabolical that somebody can see the hard work we’re doing with young people and think ‘How much damage and chaos can we cause?’
“I was just absolutely gobsmacked at how somebody could do anything like this. It’s a charity helping young people.”
One of two cars stolen, a silver Mini, belonged to a customer and was on a raised ramp. Unbeknown to the thieves its brakes had been removed for repair, making it unsafe to drive.
The raiders also tried to steal an off-road buggy, attempting to start it by taking a battery from a Corsa, and covered it in paint and cleaning products when they failed.
In all, six vehicles were damaged and two – the Mini and a Fiesta – stolen. Up to 50 sets of car keys have also gone, leaving cars on the forecourt vulnerable.
“I’ll probably be coming up every night just to check, just to see everything’s okay,” Mr Burke said.
A classic MGB, carefully restored by students, had its windows put through and paint sprayed across it.
“Every time we walked into another room, there was just more and more damage,” Mr Burke said.
The garage, on St Enochs Road, is the base for OnTrak, a charity which trains jobless teenagers in National Open College Network qualifications.
“It’s only in the last month or so that we [Mr Burke and Mr Woods] have been taking a wage. We built everything up and put everything back in,” Mr Burke said. “To do something like this is heart-wrenching. We’ll fight back, but I think a lot of that will be down to us going back to not having a salary.”
James Lynch, 19, and Daniel Leathley, 21, trained with OnTrak before being taken on to teach others.
James said: “It’s just a nightmare. It was like walking into a landfill site.”
A police spokesman said officers were called to the garage shortly after 8am yesterday to reports of a break-in.
“We are dealing with it and looking at CCTV lines of enquiry,” he said.
CCTV images from the garage show three teenage boys were at the garage from 11pm on Tuesday. They broke in through a kitchen window at the back of the property.
Witnesses, or anyone with information, should contact Bradford South CID on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.
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