Helping hand for Sidmouth SVS over theft

Sidmouth Voluntary Services offered �1k to replace stolen catalytic converter from new ambulance

ANOTHER of Sidmouth’s charities, hit by thieves stealing catalytic converters from mini-buses, has been given a helping hand this week.

Sidmouth Voluntary Services, whose new ambulance was targeted last week, has been promised �1,000 by Devon County Councillor Stuart Hughes from his locality budget to help replace the converter.

SVS, which operates from Twyford House, collected the elderly and disabled to take them for lunch at the Coburg Road centre as well as shopping trips.

Chairman Hilary Hatherley, who is delighted with the help given by Mr Hughes, said: “We deeply regret any cancellations that have had to be made due to the theft of the catalytic converter from our new ambulance.

“Sadly, as were the Living with Cancer bus and one other, ours was robbed whilst parked overnight in its usual parking space kindly provided by Fords.

“Fortunately we can cover most of our lunch trips, shopping and club engagements with our other two buses, but outings will have to be limited for the time being.”

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She said Peugeot had no spare parts at present and understood SVS was 57th on a list of 90 waiting for the catalytic converters, which contain precious platinum.

Mrs Hatherley added: “This comes at a financially awkward time because we are planning to replace the kitchen and have the outside of the premises repainted shortly.”

She said damp had been found under the kitchen floor and it would be a major upheaval as coffees and approximately 150 lunches are produced in it each week.

Councillor Hughes said he had agreed to give �1,000 after being contacted by the chairman. “I really do feel sorry for these organisations whose volunteers do so much in our local community.”