THE owner of a classic Austin car have spoken of their woe after it was stolen from their drive by “thoughtless chancers”, only to be found burnt out in a field later that day.

The eye-catching blue Austin A35 was taken from Owen Lokuciejewski-Taylor and his partner Molly Peckham’s drive in Carr Hill Road, Calverley, on Sunday morning at 6.30am.

Mr Lokuciejewski-Taylor, 25, said within three hours they had found the burnt-out shell of their car by Fagley Beck.

He said: “The last few days have just been a bit sad.

“It’s still hard to believe, just like that and something so special to you is just gone, made all the worse by the fact that it was stolen and vandalised so thoughtlessly.

“It is just such an incredible waste of history and a beautiful little car. My little blue Austin A35 was my first ever car after passing my driving test two months after my 17th birthday, and was christened with the name of Bessie.

“Bessie became a bit of a local car celebrity during my school days - I don’t think Horsforth School had ever had a student pull up to school in a vehicle like that before.

“The assistant headteacher took a real interest and would let me park in the ‘teachers only’ spaces from time to time.

“I was introduced to the car by a neighbour, Linda Hill, after she heard that I was looking for a classic.

“Linda not only put me in touch with someone selling a vehicle, she also introduced my to Trevor Townsend plus the Austin A30-A35 Owners Club.

“The classic car club are extremely welcoming and a great bunch of people that can’t do enough to help anyone with all things related to Austins.

“A special mention has to be given to Trevor as without his wealth of knowledge and willingness to help out, I would never have been able to maintain Bessie on the road.

“One of the highlights of owning the car has to be the trip I took, along with my brother and good school friend David Stubbs all the way up to Dundee.

“It was a fabulous trip for the National Owners Club Rally. It was an unforgettable trip, and Bessie didn’t break down once… until we got back and I had to just drop David off at home- a 548-mile round trip and she conks out on a trip up the road.

“Nearby CCTV has picked up two lads trying car doors all the way up until they get to Bessie.

“Ten minutes later you can see Bessie dangerously speeding down the road. It’s so much harder to know that they were chancers that just happened to get Bessie

“By 9.30 am, Molly and I are standing down by Fagley Beck looking at the smouldering remains of the car.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said enquiries into the crime are ongoing.

She said: The incident happened on 4 November at around 6:25am when suspects stole a blue Austin A35 from a driveway on Carr Hill Road.

“The car was later recovered by police. CCTV from the area is being examined by police and enquiries are ongoing.”

Mr Lokuciejewski-Taylor said that despite the sadness of losing his car, the support from the community has helped.

“If there is any positive from all of this, it is the reaction of the local (and national) community spirit.

“Within minutes of posting online about Bessie missing, people from all over the UK had rallied behind her and started looking out for her.

“The kind-heartedness and sympathy of people really shone through once the tragic end to the story was revealed.

“I’m deeply touched by everyone’s thoughts and generosity and would like to thank them all- especially the good people in the Austin A30 - A35 Owners Club.

“As so many people have said, you can’t let idiots like those lads ruin your day, so I look to the future and possibly to the next little Austin… providing Molly lets me!”

Anyone with any information about the incident, or who witnessed the theft, is asked to contact the police via 101 quoting crime reference number 13180552801.

Information can also be passed to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111