A “lifeline” minibus that is used to transport disabled youngsters to school was stolen – while the driver was in a doctor’s surgery.
Jason Pearce, boss of Easy Travel bus hire company, in Stanningley, is calling for the public to help find the vehicle, which was taken from outside Glen Lea Surgery in Stanningley on Wednesday morning.
In a direct plea to the thieves he said: “Take a minute to think about what you have taken – it is not just a car.
“Hopefully someone will see it before it has been burnt out.”
The minibus – a white 2006 Vauxhall Movano, which had company stickers on – had been specially adapted to carry four wheelchairs.
Easy Travel, which is sub-contracted by Leeds City Council, regularly used the vehicle to transport children to Penny Field special school in Meanwood.
It was parked outside the doctor’s surgery while the driver picked someone up when thieves took it at about 11.15am on Wednesday.
Mr Pearce said: “He was literally inside for a two minutes.
“They would just have been opportunists.
“It’s not the cost of replacing it that bothers me – it takes a lot of work to adapt one of these for wheelchairs. You can’t just buy one from a showroom.
“It will be months before we can get another one.”
He said the company had one other vehicle which could carry wheelchair-users, but there would be serious problems if that minibus broke down.
“I’m just hoping it hasn’t been broken up and stripped for parts already,” he said.
Hundreds of Facebook users shared details of the theft on the social networking site, prompting angry reactions from others.
Tina Jessey wrote: “Lowest of the low, good luck on its return.”
Pixie Cole added: “Some low life idiots about, hope you get your mini bus back.”
Terri-Anne Wade said: “This mini bus is used for disabled children – some low life people about.”
Shaun Holmes wrote: “Hope it’s found and still in one piece, wouldn’t this country be a much nicer place if scumbags were humanely disposed of.”