Camper van lovingly 'restored from a wreck' stolen from garage

Howard Nelson, who spent two and a half years restoring a VW Camper Van, has had it stolen from a Rackheath garage.

Howard Nelson, who spent two and a half years restoring a VW Camper Van, has had it stolen from a Rackheath garage. - Credit: Howard Nelson

A man who spent thousands restoring his pride and joy has had it stolen from a garage just outside Norwich. 

Howard Nelson spent roughly £35,000 to fully kit out his 1975 Bay Window VW Camper Van over two and a half years.

Mr Nelson, a retired management consultant who lives in Hunstanton, dropped his camper van at a garage in Rackheath last week to have some work done on its engine.

The 65-year-old said: "I've used that garage frequently and they always do a good job.

The vehicle stolen is a 1975 Bay Window VW Camper Van.

The vehicle stolen is a 1975 Bay Window VW Camper Van. - Credit: Howard Nelson

"Overnight it was locked up in their forecourt and I also have a secondary steering lock for it.

"But the owner called me up Thursday morning saying it had gone missing.

"There were some obvious signs it had been broken into with the door's lock and bits of the steering wheel lock broken, laying on the forecourt.

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"CCTV in the area caught someone driving out of the industrial estate with no lights between 2-2.30am on Thursday."

The police have been contacted for comment on the incident.

Howard Nelson, 65, from Hunstanton.

Howard Nelson, 65, from Hunstanton. - Credit: Howard Nelson

The incident has left Mr Nelson without the vehicle he lovingly restored from the ground up and now calls "Bertha".

He added: "It years to restore the camper van from pretty much a wreck.

"There's been so much work put into it.

"It's been completely restored inside and out.

The VW Camper Van is called Bertha and was stolen from a garage in Rackheath.

The VW Camper Van is called Bertha and was stolen from a garage in Rackheath. - Credit: Howard Nelson

"With all the time and commitment put in - there's an emotional attachment to it.

"Me and my wife use it for trips away, weekends with the grandchildren at the beach, and just a bit of fun for the family to use.

"I'm not usually sentimental with cars but this one is different.

"The police have been in touch with me and keeping me involved of what's happening.

Howard Nelson spent around £35,000 to restore both the inside and outside of the camper van.

Howard Nelson spent around £35,000 to restore both the inside and outside of the camper van. - Credit: Howard Nelson

"I've been sharing the news with local car and VW groups to raise awareness.

"Hopefully people will keep an eye out for it as some can be sold on or stripped for parts.

"These kinds of cars can be a target for theft and it seems that if someone is determined to take it they will."