Charity car towed away by thieves

Garage owners are appealing for help to track down a bright pink charity car which was towed away by thieves. The beloved Mercedes, which has helped raise more than GBP8,000 for good causes, was taken from outside Orchard Garage in Heath Lane, Dartford.

The car has been used for Scum Run rallies across Europe and other charity events The car has been used for Scum Run rallies across Europe and other charity events

The brazen thieves were caught on CCTV pulling up next to the signwritten car in a tow truck and then loading it up before driving away. Pam Manwaring, one of the owners of the family business, said: “They were ready to go, they knew what they were doing.

They back up really close to the car so you can’t see the number plate. And they left their floodlights on so cameras would be dazzled by the lights.” The distinctive car has since been spotted in Surrey and Pam fears it will be used for banger racing.

She said: “I don’t usually get sentimental about cars but I’m so upset about this one.

“Everybody who has had that car has loved it, and then someone just comes along and tows it away.” The car was traded in at the garage in a part-exchange deal. Since then it has been resprayed and used for lots of charity events.

Garage owner Pam Manwaring says she is "so upset" about the theft Garage owner Pam Manwaring says she is “so upset” about the theft

The Mercedes has taken part in road rallies – being driven thousands of miles across Europe in aid of ellenor hospice and Action Medical Research.

It has also been used for fundraising competitions and school visits. The garage had planned to use it again this year for more school visits and educational lessons to show people how to do basic car maintenance and change a tyre.

Pam said: “It is so frustrating. We had big plans for the car in 2022.”

A police spokesman said: “Officers are investigating a report that a Mercedes E-Class was stolen whilst parked in Heath Road, Dartford on December 28, 2021.

“The incident happened at around 10.15pm.”

Officers are urging anyone with information to call 01474 366149, quoting crime reference 46/2340/21