Stolen Ribble Valley community bus is found

The LITTLE GREEN BUS CHARITY.
The LITTLE GREEN BUS CHARITY.

A COMMUNITY bus which was stolen and used as a getaway vehicle from a recent Clitheroe garage break-in has been found.

The Little Green Bus, which is one of a fleet of four used to transport elderly Ribble Valley residents living in isolated villages, was undergoing minor repairs to its bodywork at Sabden Motor Bodies, in Taylor Street, Clitheroe, when three men broke in and took the 16-seater vehicle.

The silver bus was then used as a getaway vehicle in which to transport tools and equipment also stolen from the garage.

Staff and volunteers at the Little Green Bus charity, based on Hawthorn Industrial Estate, Upbrooks, Clitheroe, thought they would never see the bus, which was bought following three years of fund-raising and was the best of the charity’s small fleet, again.

However, the stolen bus was found on Wednesday by a Rishton resident who had heard about the appeal for information on the bus’s whereabouts. It had been damaged and abandoned in Rishton near St Charles’ RC Primary School.

Little Green Bus coordinator Linda Kirkman said: “Everyone was so surprised when the bus was found and we are now desperate to get it back into service.

“We are just waiting for the insurance assessor and to find out the cost of the damage to the bus.”

Clitheroe Police Sgt Dave Simpson said investigations were continuing.

“There are a number of lines of inquiry to follow up with related matters.”

The loss of the bus proved a real headache for the charity which is having to rely more and more on the generosity of local people after losing around £50,000 a year through the Government’s austerity cuts.

Kitted out with lifts and extra steps as well as equipment to secure wheelchairs and mobility aids, the buses provide a lifeline to the charity’s 250 members who are mainly elderly and the most vulnerable members of the community.

The Little Green Bus charity offers daily transport and doorstep pick ups, which are vital as half of the charity’s members have mobility issues, and takes people out to do their shopping, meet friends and attend medical appointments.

Anyone who would like more information about The Little Green Bus, who would like to register as a member or make a donation to this vital service, should call 01200 444484 or email datkinson@littlegreenbus.co.uk