A pair of racing karts modified specially for use by war heroes, have been stolen from a garage in Foots Cray.
The £4,000 twin-engined racers have hand controls so they can be operated by amputee veterans and were meant to be racing in Middlesborough this weekend.
But Kart Force, a charity which gives disabled former soldiers a chance to race, has now lost two of its three 320cc Honda karts after they were taken from Don O’Sullivan’s garage in Palm Avenue.
The manager of Capital Karts in Barking had been looking after all three for Kart Force founder Dave Player, but when he checked his double garage this morning he found two of them gone.
Mr Player, a wheelchair-bound former Army Royal Engineer, told News Shopper: "To lose the two karts like this is a real kick in the balls.
"It’s totally deflating. We struggle as a tiny charity just to get the funds to do this and karting is not a cheap sport."
The karts had just been kitted out for the new season at a cost of £2,000 each including new bearings, brake pads and paint jobs.
The Kart Force team.
Kart Force’s 25 drivers may well be getting a lot less track time now the charity is back down to just one kart, as it was when it was founded last year.
Mr Player, 46, said: "These are not go karts – they are what kids play with. These are racing karts capable of doing 90mph.
"One of them was donated by a six-year-old boy who did a two kilometre swim to raise money to buy it for us and now it has been stolen."
Mr O’Sullivan, 35, also had a £300 racing helmet and £500 worth of tools taken after the criminals prised open the rear access doors to his garage.
The father-of-one told News Shopper: "I’m gutted. These are for guys who have gone to war and they definitely deserve better than this."
Bexley Police confirmed they are investigating the burglary which took place some time between 7.30am yesterday and 7.25am this morning.
No arrests have been made and anyone with information should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.