Chichester grandad 'absolutely gutted' after thieves steal 30-year-old handmade child's car

Thomas the Tank Engine being driven by grandson Sam when he was younger
Thomas the Tank Engine being driven by grandson Sam when he was younger

A Chichester grandfather has said he is 'absolutely gutted' after two handmade children's cars were stolen from his home in Westergate Lane.

Paul Wilson, 70, made a Land Rover 30 years ago and made a Thomas the Tank Engine from an old mobility scooter 12 years ago for his grandchildren.

The red Land Rover being driven by grandson Sam when he was younger

The red Land Rover being driven by grandson Sam when he was younger

Paul said he thinks the thieves must have know the toys were in the shed, and said: "I would think they a hundred weight or more and they also took their battery chargers.

"I was absolutely gutted. The Land Rover took me ages and ages to make. I just think it is such a horrible thing to do. Our grandchildren have grown up with them but will have children of their own one day.

"There are lots of friends that used them and played."

Paul said he didn't think he would be building any more but said: "I love doing stuff like that but it has got be cheap."

Alison Wilson, who works at Chichester College said: "There were ladders in there and a couple of bikes but they were put neatly to the side — very odd. It's a horrible thought. My husband mad the Jeep 30 years ago for our son from a petrol engine and then swapped it for a mobility scooter engine. He was gutted and we feel awful."

Support from strangers on social media has been 'fantastic', said Alison, after her daughters Facebook post was shared as many as 7,000 times.

She said that at around 2am they heard their dog barking but assumed it was at a cat in the garden, "We didn't hear a thing, that's the awful thing."

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: "A garden shed was forced open and burgled in Chichester. The break-in to the shed in Westergate Lane was reported around 9.30am on Monday (December 31) and is thought to have occurred between 6pm on Sunday and 7am on Monday.

"Two large children's battery-powered vehicles, one Thomas the Tank Engine and one bright red Jeep, were stolen. Anyone with information about the incident of the location of the items is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 31/12."