A Wiltshire nursery’s minibus has been stolen and burned down – now they’re desperately fundraising to protect their site.

Staff from Sunflowers at Grafton Nursery arrived to open up the site to children at 7.30am on Wednesday, September 6, only to find that their minibus had been stolen.

By midday, Hampshire Police confirmed that the 14-seat Ford Transit had been found 34 miles away, burned to the ground and without an engine.

Trustees of Sunflowers Nursery have described it as an “unsettling event.”

“The minibuses are an essential part of providing the wider community with essential childcare options,” said a spokesperson for Sunflowers at Grafton Nursery.

The charity-registered nursery located near to Marlborough and Pewsey, works with over 150 families to provide childcare for 0–5-year-olds, as well as breakfast, after-school and holiday clubs across multiple primary schools.

These breakfast and after-school clubs rely on having a minibus to take children between Sunflowers Nursery and Great Bedwyn and Burbage Primary Schools.

“Of course, we are working on options to replace the bus.

“The stolen minibus was a leased bus and we have all the relevant insurance in place to ensure that the lease agreement is settled,” said Claire Tarbox from Sunflowers at Grafton Nursery.

But now staff from Sunflowers at Grafton are desperately fundraising to ensure that tragedy never strikes their nursery again.

“This fundraising is all about strengthening our security and making it as difficult as possible for something like this to happen again.

“We’re specifically looking at taking steps to secure our grounds, including new gates and lowering the hedge height around our car park, as well as vehicle security,” Ms Tarbox added.

Currently, the nursery has raised just over £3,500 of the £7,500 target needed to make these security improvements to their site.

“The team have worked remarkably hard to ensure this unsettling experience has not impacted the families they work with,” said Trustees of Sunflowers Nursery.

“However, we need support to ensure the impact on the nursery, community and all our families remains minimal.

“If we raise more than needed to make our security improvements you can be confident that the money will be well spent in other ways to make Sunflowers even more amazing,” they added.

You can contribute to their fundraiser here.

It has not been confirmed who is responsible for the theft and burning of the much-loved minibus.