Pensioners in Hucknall, Blidworth and Kirkby have been left stranded after thieves siphoned petrol from a fleet of community buses and damaged the fuel tanks.
The three 15-seater buses, which belong to Ravenshead Community Transport (RCT), are now being repaired following the raid, which took place overnight on Thursday, May 18.
RCT chairman David Grenham said: “It’s disappointing and upsetting. All three vehicles are off for repairs. We are struggling to keep things on the move.
“All our staff are volunteers and we do a lot of work taking people to day centres in Ravenshead and Hucknall.”
Fortunately the group have a spare bus, that they were in the process of selling, which was used to ferry the patrons of the St John’s day centre in Hucknall, last Friday.
But Just Good Friends, the group which organises the meetings at St John’s, have had to cancel both sessions this week after the vandalism.
Centre manager Andrea Smith said: “This is appalling news - this will disadvantage many groups that rely on transport each week. Our thoughts are with the team there who are understandably devastated.
“All our members rely on the bus because they have mobility issues. Without the bus they can’t come out of their homes. It has really disadvantaged our people.
“Two ladies are completely wheelchair bound, so obviously there’s no other way of bringing them into the centre.”
Around 12 people visit the centre on Tuesdays, and around 20 on Fridays, she added.
“Some have carers in their houses, but no family nearby, so this week they won’t be able to see their friends. They won’t be able to leave their homes.”
Staffed entirely by volunteers, RCT also run a weekly service on Mondays and Wednesdays from Ravenshead to Blidworth and Kirkby; Tuesday and Thursday morning Ravenshead village routes; Tuesday and Friday shopping specials, as well as transport for The Cornwater Club, in Ravenshead.
The charity was founded on December 19, 1996, to “provide community transport for the residents of Ravenshead and other local communities within a ten-mile radius.”
The group recently secured funding from the Department for Transport which enabled them to replace their oldest minibus, Lady Annabella, with a newer model, Lady Elizabeth.