Somerset

Thieves halt buses for disabled in Somerset

A group of people with disabilities and learning difficulties have been left without transport after thieves stole parts from five minibuses.

Police said offenders stole catalytic converters from the vehicles used to transport the adults to and from work and training.

The transport service, which is used by between 45 and 50 people, is provided by Somerset County Council.

A police spokesman said the thefts, from a car park in Frome, were "cruel".

The converters were stolen on Manor Road between 1830 BST on Friday and 0700 BST on Monday.

'Really saddening'

Audrey Beech, who works for the service, said: "We cover a large area across the Mendips and today lots of people are stuck at home. Our customers cannot afford taxis and do not always have the capability of buying bus tickets on their own.

"It is really saddening to think people would do this."

Pc Duncan Verel, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "The theft of parts from buses providing a valuable local service was a cruel act."

He appealed for anyone with information or who was offered a catalytic converter for sale "in suspicious circumstances" to contact officers.

A county council spokeswoman said spare vehicles from elsewhere in the county would be drafted in on Tuesday, and that it was hoped the Transporting Somerset service would be fully up-and-running again on Thursday.

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