Richard Child checked the van was secured near his family’s home in Chesswood Road about 10pm last night, but when his father Greg went to look this morning, the van was gone without a trace.
The limited edition white Ford Transit van was the latest addition to well-known family company Coastal Drains, based in Lancing Business Park and run by Greg and Julie Child.
Now Greg and Julie are desperate for the public’s help to find it.
Julie, 57, who also works as a counsellor at Swandean Hospital, cannot believe what has happened: “How can somebody take a van with no keys?”
What’s more, the van had a GPS tracker installed on it, but this was switched off soon after the van’s engine was started late last night, according to Julie, who checked the system.
She added: “We can see that the van was started up at 11.20pm but then they have obviously disarmed the tracker.
“Somebody must have known what they were doing.”
She added that there was no broken glass at the scene or signs of a forced entry to the vehicle.
“I just do not understand it,” said Julie, who is convinced the theft was a ‘professional job’.
Julie’s son Richard, who works as a senior engineer for the company, has been devastated by the theft of a van he had been waiting so long for.
Richard said: “I came back down to the house in the morning and it was gone.
“I have got no tools, no passport, I’ve had to cancel jobs. It’s stealing from somebody’s livelihood.
“They are not tools you can replace overnight.”
Now the company is down a van, which Julie said is hampering their 24-hour business: “We do need these vans, we need them on the road. It’s bad enough to have a van off the road for an MOT.
“There are some real rogues out there but this is just not on.
“I can’t believe that someone’s come and helped themselves.”
The van is white and has ‘Coastal Drains’ written on the side. The family have released a picture in the hope someone saw what happened to the it.
Sussex Police are investigating and ask anyone with any information to call 101 or email [email protected], quoting serial 160 of 19/04.