DAD Alan Sealy has told of his struggle to see his estranged four-year-old daughter after thieves stole his car and set it ablaze.

The 29-year-old said he has also become the victim of malicious taunts and jibes from residents who blame him for the thousands of pounds of damage caused to Calne's Bowls clubhouse when the thieves torched his car, which set light to the club.

Mr Sealy, of Falcon Road, Calne, brought his Astra estate especially to visit his daughter Courtenie, who lives with her mother in Chippenham. He had not seen his 'little girl' for seven months before July, but recently managed to arrange visits to see her once every two weeks.

The thought of seeing his daughter, who starts school in September, spurred Mr Sealy into working extra shifts to raise enough cash to buy his car, which cost £225. But within four weeks, and after only one visit to see Courtenie, thieves snatched it away from him.

"My mother has got photos of all her grandchildren in her living room and I looked at a picture of my daughter and thought that's it, I've got no transport to get to my daughter," said Mr Sealy.

"I kept my composure in front of my family, but I shed a little tear, not for the car, but of sheer frustration because I'd worked so hard to get it and then all of a sudden I had no way of getting to see my daughter."

To make matters worse Mr Sealy claims he is been victimised by residents who have made snide remarks and comments to him suggesting he deliberately set fire to his car.

He said the taunts have now gone beyond a joke and he is being made to feel guilty for a crime he did not commit.

"I'm having to say sorry even though it was nothing to do with me," he said. "I feel sorry for what happened to the bowls club, but it wasn't me it was some mindless idiots who get their jollies from stealing and burning other people's cars.

Mr Sealy's car was stolen in the early hours of July 11 from outside his grandmother's house, in Penn Hill Road, where he was staying that night.

The fire caused extensive damage to the wooden walls of the men's changing hut at Calne Bowls Club, which will be out of use for some time. All that was left of Mr Sealy's car was a burnt-out shell, dumped in the recreation club's car park in Anchor Road.

Mr Sealey is not the only victim to have suffered at the hands of thieves.

In the early hours of July 5 a Vauxhall Belmont, stolen from Ogilvie Square, was discovered in flames, in Swaddon Street, and two days later firefighters extinguished another burning stolen car at Sandpit Road.

Thieves also struck twice in the early house of Friday when two cars were broken into and set ablaze. At 3.28am a Vauxhall Astra, worth £500, was stolen from Anchor Road and dumped in Wessington Avenue where it was set alight.

At 4.10am a Vauxhall estate, parked at behind The Pippin, was hotwired but it did not start and the wiring ignited the £750 car, which was burnt out.

Sergeant Nic Shorten of Calne Police said: "The latest thefts bring the total to 19 cars stolen and burned out in Calne since April.

"The majority of these cars are low value Vauxhalls between the registrations C and J. And in all cases, when a car or van is burned out, it has a serious impact on the owner.

"We would urge owners of older Vauxhall cars to take more security measures at this time.

"Steering wheel locks are good idea. In the meantime, we are actively investigating these crimes and intend to being the perpetrators to justice ."

Meanwhile, Mr Sealy said friends, family and his boss Jamie Punshon, who manages the Merco Garage, in Oxford Street, where Mr Sealy has worked for four months, have rallied round and given him lifts into Chippenham on Sundays, to enable him to see his daughter.

"I'm going to have to work hard, but I'm determined to get another car, for my independence and so I can continue to see Courtenie," he said.