THE owner of a Dorchester taxi firm has hit out at ‘mindless’ thieves who targeted vehicles used to transport disabled schoolchildren.

Engine parts from three specially adapted minibuses were taken from Bob’s Cars garage on the Poundbury West Industrial Estate, leaving them unable to be driven, owner Bob Galloway said.

Mr Galloway said the incident came to light in the morning, when drivers tried to turn on the engines which sounded ‘like a tank’.

He said: “Luckily we have older vehicles, which are still perfectly serviceable that are kept in reserve, but it’s just ludicrous.

“If we did not have those back-up cars those children just would not have been able to get to school.”

The service transports a number of children with disabilities and conditions such as autism.

Mr Galloway said: “It does worry me if we can’t get there. The children with autism particularly like to do everything to a timetable, getting themselves up and ready for school, having breakfast and knowing exactly what time their taxi is going to be there to take them to school.

“If all of a sudden that has to change because someone has mindlessly sabotaged our vehicles then it’s the child who suffers.

“We always do our best to get round it, but that’s not the point.”

It is believed the incident took place over the weekend when the minibuses were kept in the bus park.

It is not the first time the firm has suffered from vandalism.

Mr Galloway said drivers have experienced youths slashing the seats of a taxi, wing mirrors snapped off cars and wheels stolen.

He said: “It is mindless because it costs the company money, which is never good when the economy isn’t great.

“You think because you locked the car it is safe, but that just isn’t the case.

“They might make a minor profit out of it but they don’t think about the impact it will have on other people, especially those kids.”

A Dorset Police spokesperson said: “Police have been informed of a theft that happened sometime between midnight on Monday 17 March 2014 and 9am on Wednesday 26 March 2014. The incident occurred in the car park rear of Sydenhams Hire Centres, Poundbury West Industrial Estate, Dorchester.

“Dorset Police would like to remind all van owners to remain vigilant and take some simple crime prevention steps to avoid becoming a victim. There are reasonably-priced locking devices that can be bought and fitted to prevent this crime.

“Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward.”