Ipswich Scouts chairman says some 80 children will be ‘deprived’ after club’s minibus is stolen

Essex Police are appealing for information after a white Ford Transit van belonging to the 18th Ipsw

Essex Police are appealing for information after a white Ford Transit van belonging to the 18th Ipswich Scout Group was stolen this week. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The chairman of the 18th Ipswich Scout Group says he is “appalled” after discovering the club’s minibus was stolen yesterday.

The white Ford Transit van was taken from a property in Beach Road, in St Oysth, at around 5.50pm and had the group’s logo written on the side in green.

Police say the van is also missing its front registration plate and believe it is still being driven around the Tendring area following a sighting in Wix around 11am today.

George Debman, chairman of the 18th Ipswich Scout Group, said: “The group has worked exceedingly hard to fund the minibus for the group and I’m appalled. I’m lost for words.

“I’m absolutely speechless because of where it is. It’s off the beaten track, but I would’ve thought someone would have noticed. I find it incredible.”

Mr Debman, who is also an Ipswich borough councillor, added that the group once had a trailer stolen, but that something like this has not happened for a long time.

The van is believed to have cost the club around £8,000, but Mr Debman said it would take another two years before it could be replaced – if the group even decides to do that.

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“It is the only minibus and it generates income for the group and the group uses it on a regular basis. It will have a serious impact.

“The big question is whether the group replace it because the insurance premiums will go up and no matter what security you have, it doesn’t seem to be enough.”

The van was reportedly kept in a secure alleyway, which also had a padlock and barbed wire to stop intruders accessing it.

“It will take some serious fundraising to actually get the money together [for a new van],” Mr Debman added.

“We have been lucky with sponsors and support from local companies but we cannot continue to go begging to local companies.”

Police are asking anyone who sees the van to call them immediately on 999 or to contact DS Richard Edwards at Clacton CID on 101.

Alternatively, any information can be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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