Watch: How callous thieves stole York hospice vans not once but twice

PC Martin Scott after sharing the appeal on the BBC Crimewatch Roadshow with presenter Michelle Ackerley. Photograph: North Yorkshire Police on Facebook

This video shows the moment callous thieves stole a van from St Leonard’s Hospice in York.

And what made it all the more shocking was another van was taken from the charity on Tadcaster Road within three weeks of the first theft.

CCTV footage of the thieves at work was broadcast today (Thursday) as part of a live BBC Crimewatch Roadshow appeal.

Described as a ‘particularly heartless crime’ by the show’s presenter Michelle Ackerley, the thefts were also reconstructed by the programme.

Thieves drilled through the locks of the vans – used to supply St Leonard’s 13 charity shops – and drove them away in the middle of the night.

Hotwired the ignition

A still from the hospice’s CCTV showing the thieves at work
The first theft, of a Ford Transit van, took place at about 11.38pm on Monday, 10 June.

Police believe the two men probably hotwired the ignition. The vehicle was last seen heading towards Leeds on the A64 – with the numberplates changed to hide its identity.

Dominic Spurr, retail facilities coordinator at the charity, watched them via the CCTV footage the next morning. “They looked slick and they looked like they’d done this before,” he told the programme.

Around midnight on Wednesday, 3 July thieves struck again – this time targeting the box van. Again it was driven towards Leeds on the A64.


Hospice manager Dr Jonathan Bauer told Crimewatch Roadshow:

  • That someone should target someone like St Leonard’s Hospice – that was a real shock to many of us.

    It almost feels like we’re being targeted – victimised.

The thefts cost the hospice around £25,000.

Audi driver appeal

A box van and a Transit van were stolen from St Leonard’s Hospice car park
PC Martin Scott from North Yorkshire Police told Crimewatch that they believe the two thefts are linked.

He said a silver Audi A3 was seen in the Tadcaster Road area on one of the nights. They are appealing for the driver to come forward in case they saw anything.

And anyone who saw the vans, which were fully branded with the St Leonard’s Hospice sunflower, is also asked to get in touch.

If anyone has seen anything suspicious or has any information at all, please call 101 and quote the incident number: NYP11062019-0087.