Vandals smash up charity’s food vans

HEARTLESS vandals have attacked charity vans used to deliver groceries to vulnerable elderly people.

Yobs launched a midnight raid on two vehicles belonging to the Bathgate office of The Food Train, slashing tyres, smashing windows and forcing entry to the Peugeot Escort vans before ransacking the interiors.

The damaged caused is estimated to cost around £700 but charity volunteers are said to be working hard to ensure needy individuals don’t go without.

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News of the latest wrecking spree comes after neighbouring charity Crossroads had to pay £100 for a window smashed in its premises last week.

Forensic officers examined the scene for fingerprints while police carried out door to door inquiries.

Alison Wright, regional manager for The Food Train, West Lothian, said the vandals could be taking food from the mouths of their own grandparents.

“It may be a petty crime but we do take it personally,” she said.

“I would like to let the people who did this speak with our customers where they would see just how valuable a service we provide.

“It could be that their own grandparents use The Food Train. They could maybe miss out on food because we can’t get the vans out on the road.”

Ms Wright explained that a colleague raised the alarm after seeing shattered glass and debris surrounding the vans at around 8.30am yesterday.

“She noticed a few tyres had been slashed, and it turned out six out of the eight tyres had been targeted,” said Mrs Wright.

“A window of the smaller van was also smashed in by a fire extinguisher taken from one of the vans. Even though they got inside the van they didn’t steal anything at all.

“The vans are key to what we do but this incident hasn’t affected our services because we hired a van in.”

She added: “I just don’t know why anyone would have done this. I’m disappointed and really disgusted – we have 34 volunteers who all feel the same way. We won’t let this stop us delivering our services – that’s our priority.”

A police spokesman said: “This has been a mindless destruction of two vans, which are essential in delivering food to elderly and vulnerable members of the West Lothian community.

“Staff have been left sickened by this incident and officers are keen to speak with anyone who saw any suspicious activity in or around the Waverley Industrial Estate.

“Similarly, anyone with information who can assist officers with their investigation is also asked to contact police immediately.”

Anyone with any information can contact police on 0131-311 3131, or the charity Crime-stoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.