A CHILDMINDER has spoken of her devastation after a bus she uses for her child care business was stolen from outside her home.

Sarah Kiernan, 41, owner of Little Stars Childcare, Sherwood, North Stifford, discovered her van was missing yesterday, after it was taken in the early hours of the morning.

She said CCTV caught three men drive up, get out, and steal the van.

She said: “I was in bed and it was parked outside my room.

“The next day my mum asked where the bus was and then I realised it had been stolen.

“We watched the CCTV and it showed the men driving past and parking outside a nearby home and then got out the car, walked around the van and got in it.

“The lights of the van flashed and as we had the keys in the house we think they were using some sort of device to get a signal from the keys and open the van.

“I had a steering lock on the steering wheel, but they managed to get it off and drive away.

“I am feeling absolutely devastated and very upset.

“There were nine child car seats and some buggies that were in the bus and were also taken.

“These people don’t care they have taken something that is used for children.”

She said she had to cancel the school journey service she runs on December 3 because of the theft. She said a number of parents will be affected as she cannot run her full childcare services without the bus.

She said she’s had it for about two years and it cost about £20,000.

The childminder is now preparing to replace the stolen car seats and buggies and working with her insurance company regarding the van.

She said she has worked very hard to build the childcare business which has been rated as outstanding by education watchdog Ofsted.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We were called shortly after 7am on Monday, December 3, with reports that a minibus had been stolen overnight in Sherwood, North Stifford.

“The vehicle is a white Ford Transit minibus with logos saying ‘Little Stars Childcare’ on its windows.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Essex Police on 101 or report information by visiting www.essex.police.uk/do-it-online.”