A couple’s £16,500 Mercedes has been written off after professional thieves stripped the car of it’s doors, bonnet, boot, wheels and seats, whilst the owners slept just meters away in their home.
Business owner Paul Hampton, 56, and his partner Jacqui Heeley, 54, were woken at 5am on Thursday after a neighbour told them to ‘take a look at their car’, parked outside their home in West Bromwich, West Midlands.
Thinking it had been ‘smashed up’ Mr Hampton was stunned when he discovered that his 2018 C-Class AMG had been methodically stripped bare for parts by thieves.
Business owner Paul Hampton and his partner Jacqui Heeley were rudely awoken just before 5am yesterday when his neighbour told them to ‘take a look at their car’
The safe company owner’s driver and passenger doors had disappeared, alongside both front seats and all four wheels, leaving the car stood on bricks.
Not only that, both his bonnet and boot lid had gone and the thieves had even taken some sweets that Mr Hampton had stashed in his central console.
They had tried to remove the back seats but just left them wrecked and it appears they were disturbed when trying to take off the front bumper and lights.
Mr Hampton said: ‘When I stepped outside the front door, I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. They hadn’t damaged any panels, it’s just been stripped bare.
‘These are professionals and appear to work in teams of five or six to cut the time down.
The Mercedes was left standing on bricks after thieves stripped off all four wheels along with the doors, bonnet, boot, wheels and seats
Mr Hampton was stunned to see his 2018 C-Class AMG was stripped bare when he looked out the window of his home this morning at 5am yesterday
‘Each person has their own job. They didn’t just cut the wires in the doors, they unclipped the connectors to avoid damaging it. They’ve left the remaining parts in perfect condition.
‘They didn’t leave any fingerprints because they’d worn latex gloves and it probably didn’t take them long to get everything off as they’re not your average car thieves.
‘We’ve spoken to some mechanic friends and they believe they wanted the bumper and lights because there’s a sensor inside them which makes them worth £1,000.
‘They must have been disturbed before that happened though because they only managed to get the registration plates off. More could have been taken.
Even the boot of the car was snatched, with the registration plate ripped off and placed in the car
‘I normally have a cup of tea with my neighbour before going to work but this morning she’d woken up and rushed over.
‘She’d seen the car boot arms sticking in the air and thought she was seeing things so when she came outside she said she had a heart attack.
‘I went to bed like normal at 10pm but obviously by 4.30am this had been done. It’s because they’re so efficient.’
Mr Hampton and Ms Heeley have had the two-door coupe since April 2018 on hire purchase and it was due to be worth £16,500 at the end of March 2021.
Mr Hampton with his car, now written off by their insurance company following the £14,000 worth of damage
The back seats remained, however a bag of sweets was pilfered from the centre console
Incredibly the thieves managed to remove parts worth thousands without waking the owners
However, the damage done is worth at least £14,000 leaving the car written off by their insurance company.
Mr Hampton said: ‘This is my fifth Mercedes, I’ve had them for the last 15 years. I’ve never had anything like this happen before.
‘It almost puts me off getting another one. I’d be better just having a £500 banger on the drive for them to steal.
‘I just want people to be aware this is happening. I could have done things like put the car around the back of the house but I think they’d have still done what they did.
The couple’s car has been so badly damaged that Mr Hampton has decided he would rather have a ‘£500 banger’
Mr Hampton said the situation may have been better if they had taken the car as it is fitted with a tracker
‘They didn’t take the car, which would have been better for me probably. It’s fitted with a tracker so we could have found it.
‘When you’ve never seen anything like this before, it really does come as a shock. Some people might not be able to take the shock that I saw yesterday morning.
‘These people just don’t care. They’ve got no feeling for anybody. Instead of getting a proper job like everyone else, they think it’s quicker to steal.
‘The worst thing is I’ve had to cancel jobs, which I’ve always hated doing. I was due to go to London but had to sort insurance instead.
‘People didn’t believe me when I told them why. I had to send them pictures to prove it.’
West Midlands Police have been approached for a comment.