Appeal over minibus stolen from Hackney youth club

A former boxing champion has asked thieves to ‘have a heart’ after they stole a minibus from a Hackney youth club last week.

The 16-seater Ford Transit bus was taken some time around Thursday night or Friday morning from Overbury Street in Lower Clapton where it was parked by workers from The Pedro Youth Club.

Youngsters discovered the minibus gone and broken glass on the ground on Sunday morning (May 1) when they went to travel to a boxing contest.

“It was quite upsetting,” said James Cook MBE, who won the European Super Middleweight title in the 1990s and now runs the youth club in Rushmore Road.

“We left it parked at the corner of the club and went to use it to take young boxers to a competition on Sunday to find it was gone.

“We are asking these people to have a heart.

“We have got in the region of 50 boys and girls at the club and the minibus was our lifeline.

Most Read

“It was very disheartening to find it had been stolen.”

He said he had been searching the borough for signs of the vehicle – white with ‘The Pedro Club’ and sponsor ‘WHSmith’ painted on the side - and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

Supporters of the club, which in the past have included the late Elizabeth Taylor, have been raising money for a new minibus. But the theft this week has dealt a fresh blow to one of the oldest functioning youth clubs in London.

DS Lee McCullough, from Hackney’s Motor Vehicle Unit, said: “I urge anyone who may have witnessed this incident or has information regarding the vehicle to contact 0300 123 1212, quoting reference CR4611176/11.

“My team are committed to tackling motor vehicle crime in Hackney and will go to every length to locate suspects. To help prevent becoming a victim of motor vehicle crime, I would like to remind residents not to leave valuables in their vehicles.”