Van stolen from Leeds learning disabilities charity is a 'lifeline'

Charity staff and volunteers at Slate, which provides employment opportunities to people with learning disabilities.
Charity staff and volunteers at Slate, which provides employment opportunities to people with learning disabilities.

A Leeds charity has been dealt a blow after one of its two vans was stolen – for the second time in nine months.

South Leeds Alternative Trading Enterprise (Slate) gives work opportunities to adults with learning disabilities.

Have you seen a van like this one?

Have you seen a van like this one?

It uses the vans to collect donated furniture and drop off items bought by customers visiting its shops.

Operations manager Dave Firth told the YEP: “Our van is our lifeline. The less that’s coming into the shops, the less we can sell. A charity in itself is hard to keep afloat in this day and age.

"We do sell that much that we need that second van out there full time. Without it, some people can't buy from us because we can't deliver items quick enough.

"Going down to one van also means we’ve only got enough work for one driver and some of our volunteers can't understand why they're not able to go out on the van."

The white Ford Transit van, registration FE13 OVM, was stolen from Wharfedale Avenue in Woodhouse between 8pm on April 28 and 1.14am on April 29.

Police were able to track the vehicle down last time it was taken, but the tracking device appears to have been disabled this time.

On the previous occasion, the stolen van had been used in a robbery on a garage and was found full of tyres.

Mr Firth said: "It's a well recognised van. This one actually had a leprechaun cable-tied to the front grill.

"There is another one of our vans driving around, but that driver will be wearing a Slate t-shirt."

Anyone with information on the van’s whereabouts is asked to call police on 101, quoting crime reference 13170191739.

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