OWNERS of a family-run children’s entertainment service are “heartbroken” after crooks stole £10,000 of items after “cutting through the driving wheel lock" and taking off in the van.

Kids Party Wheels’ Nicola and Robert Michelle, from Laindon, were left in shock on Thursday morning when they headed to their driveway, in School Avenue, to see the van not there.

One neighbour’s CCTV footage showed someone breaking into the vehicle at around 1.15am.

The van was carrying items from their construction party package, such as a mini electric dump truck, outfits and mini wheelbarrows.

As a result of the incident, the pair have been left devastated as they feel they have “let people down and ruined kids’ birthday parties”.

Echo: Stolen - vanStolen - van (Image: Kids Party Wheels)

Mrs Michelle said: “It was stolen in the early hours of Thursday morning from School Avenue.

“My husband and I went down to put stuff in the van only to find it was not on the driveway, and it was one neighbour that showed us CCTV footage of someone cutting through the driving wheel lock and taking off in the van.

“It’s left us heartbroken and frustrated because we’ve forked out so much money on the van, the mini electric cars, the accessories and outfits, and now they’re gone.

“The construction package is our most popular option, and we’ve had to let people down and now their kids’ birthday plans are ruined, all because of someone’s wicked act.

“Thankfully, customers switched to our other packages, including emergency vehicles and pink wheelies.

“I apologise to all our customers who have been affected by this unfortunate incident.”

Mrs Michelle said the cars in the van can only work by a “special battery" and because they weren’t in the van "the cars can’t operate, meaning they’re worth nothing”.

Kids Party Wheels, which was taken over by the couple in February, provides kiddie electric vehicles and props for special occasions.

They have also worked with schools to help explain the importance of road safety.           

For more information, visit: kidspartywheels.co.uk.