Prestonpans: Charity’s minibus ‘unroadworthy’ after attempted theft

Prestonpans: Charity’s minibus ‘unroadworthy’ after attempted theft

A charity that works with adults with learning disabilities and autism has had its minibus vandalised during an attempted theft in Prestonpans, leaving it “unroadworthy”.

Upmo, based in Leith in Edinburgh, provides support and opportunity for adults with learning disabilities and autism across Edinburgh, East Lothian and Midlothian.

The charity’s minibus was the victim of an attempted theft while parked outside Prestonpans Community Centre, leaving the vehicle with its windows smashed and unsuitable for the road.

One of the key elements of what Upmo does is organise trips and days out for its students, but this damage to the minibus will greatly impact their ability to do so.

Upmo is now exploring options for a temporary replacement vehicle but has also set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds to cover the costs of hiring a replacement vehicle for trips while the minibus is being repaired.

But they stressed that getting a highly specialised vehicle on short notice was a difficult task.

Claire Farquhar, head of operations, was devastated about the impact this “mindless act” would have on Upmo’s students.

She said: “On a personal note, I am deeply disappointed by this mindless act that will have a strong impact on our students, who were looking forward to an educational visit to the Trimoteum Museum in Melrose, amongst other planned trips, that now may need to be cancelled.”

The charity, which has visited Prestonpans for 10 years, took to Facebook to share its sadness about what happened.

A spokesperson for the charity said on Facebook: “We’re sad to share that our minibus is not currently roadworthy following an attempted theft while it was parked outside Prestonpans Community Centre, where we have been supporting adults with learning disabilities over the past 10 years.

“This will greatly impact our ability to run trips for our students while repairs are underway, and this is a vital part of what we do.

“We are working hard to obtain a replacement vehicle that meets our student’s accessibility requirements so we can continue trips in the community and beyond over the coming weeks.

“We would appreciate any help or guidance on contacts and businesses who might be able to help us with a replacement so we can continue to run trips for our students. Please email [email protected]

Those wishing to donate to the charity can do so by visiting

Police Scotland have been approached for comment.

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East Lothian Courier
Gregor Millar

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