Norwich’s smiley yellow taxi set alight
Arsonists who torched a special Norwich van with a 'smiley' face painted on the front must have been missing a sense of humour, its owner said today.
The bright yellow van was parked on Aylsham Road, Mile Cross, opposite St Catherine's Church, when it was set alight in the early hours of the morning, leaving it a shell of its former self.
Its owner Shaun Stearman, who runs Taxi-Trucks from Margaret Paston Avenue in Mile Cross, said: 'People have said to us that it was such a shame as that little smiley-faced truck never did anyone any harm and it brought so many smiles to the faces of people who saw it.'
He said the van had been used in a variety of ways since they bought it.
He added: 'There were only 20 like it made, and there are only three now left.
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'We rescued it from the Top Gear studios, where it was about to be destroyed, and we restored it.
'It became a fixture on Aylsham Road where it was parked, and we used it as an advertising van, as an electric milk float and often hired it out for charities to use.
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'It was taken to the Royal Norfolk Show and other special events, and it was a gimmick really.
'Prior to it being torched, it was being used as one of our taxis.
'But it was burnt to a crisp and is now in pieces, with only the front part of the vehicle still intact.
'Obviously, our fleet of vans is still running, but we don't know what to do with the 'smiley' one, and whether to restore it. The police took it away to do forensic tests on it and it's now sitting in a police recovery yard off Woodcock Road.'
All Taxi-Truck's vans are named after either an event or a person and this one was known as 'The Guv-Ner' because it has the registration number GUV 438N, which can be shortened to GUV N, 'The Guv-Ner'.
A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed that it was investigating the arson attack, which happened at about 3am on Sunday, February 6.
Anyone with information should speak to officers at Bethel Street police station in Norwich on 0845 4564567.
Have you been the victim of vandals in Norwich? Call Evening News reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@ archant.co.uk.