A DEDICATED Mini fan is searching for the car he spent thousands of pounds restoring after thieves raided a garage block.

Alan Capon, 44, of Poplar Shaw in Waltham Abbey, discovered his green Mini Cooper Sports was missing from the garage near his home yesterday morning.

“A friend of mine phoned me in the morning to say the garages had been turned over,” he said.

“I assumed kids had been jumping on the roofs again. You get kids messing around there.

“The roofs were fine, but they’d decided to take the front door off and they’d targeted another five garages there.”

He has been restoring cars for the past 10 years and had just finished a year and a half’s work on the car, which he was planning to take to a show this weekend.

“I bought it in dire need of restoration,” he said. “It’s the last show of the year this Saturday coming up and I’ve been waiting for years for this show.

“It’s the last outing it would have done this year.”

He said no cars were stolen from other garages in the block and believes thieves may have been looking for his Mini.

“I think they knew my car was in that area, but didn’t know which garage it was in,” he added. “One of the garages had tools stolen.

“Either they wanted that car, or they’ve shipped it abroad because it’s worth a lot of money, or broken it into parts, which I don’t even want to think about.”

Mr Capon, who works for a heating company, is able to get around in his firm’s van, but is desperate to get his pride and joy back.

Fellow members of the Waltham Abbey Mini Owners club are helping to publicise the loss via social media sites Facebook and Twitter.

“I’d like to find the people who took it from me,” he said. “It’s so frustrating. It can’t have got too far since it was taken.”

The Mini has been customised, with a leather interior, a lowered chassis and has the registration plate KIG 1380.

Police said the ignition had been smashed by the thieves to get the car to start.

Anyone with information on the theft should call Ongar CID on 101.

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