By Helen Le Caplain
This is the moment a suspected ‘Corsa Cannibal’ stripped a £6,000 motor bare in the dead of night and was caught on camera sprinting away clutching the bonnet.
Hayley Phillips was woken in the early hours of Wednesday morning (May 2) to a frantic text from her sister saying neighbours had seen a hooded figure swipe parts from her white Vauxhall Corsa.
The teaching assistant and her race tyre technician partner Peter Biddell, 32, leapt out of bed and raced down the stairs to find the car, which Hayley only bought a month earlier, missing half its parts.
Hayley was ‘devastated’ to discover the passenger-side window had been smashed, the bonnet popped open and the bonnet, grille and headlights unscrewed and taken away.
The horrified mum of three rang police while her partner looked through the CCTV footage only to discover the thief must have returned when they went back in the house to pocket the remaining headlight on the car.
The footage shows the figure dressed in a light jacket and trousers repeatedly approach the car, crouch down next to it and appear to unscrew parts before scampering away carrying them.
Hayley, 33, said she believed the theft of the front half of the car was done to order and the incident has left her fearing for the safety of her family and the courtesy car.
Hayley from Bromford, West Mids, said: “I can’t bring myself to watch the CCTV all the way through, but what I have seen shows him appear on camera briefly and looking like he’s unscrewing bits of my car before running off with them.
“When I went into the house that night I stood looking outside of the window for ages but couldn’t see anything.
“Little did I know he must have been crouched down low watching out for us and waiting for his chance to take the last headlight.
“It’s horrible to think he was watching the house and later returned to the finish the job.
“When I saw what happened to my car I didn’t even cry, I think I was in too much shock.”
Hayley reported the incident to police and contacted her insurance company who organised for a tow truck to pick up what was left of the second-hand 2014 reg plate car.
Hayley said: When I got the text from my sister at 1.20am I jumped up out of bed, both Peter and I ran downstairs and out to the car, I was devastated.
“I went outside and saw half the car was missing. I would have preferred someone to have taken the car, I was so gutted.
“Getting that car was a massive thing for me. I’d saved up the money for it – it was the first time I’d bought a car for myself in my name.
“My partner usually buys cars and we just share them but this time it was my own car in my name. I was just devastated.
“My neighbours tried to wake us but we slept through and didn’t answer the door.
“He apparently had an electronic screwdriver which they could hear as he took my car away piece by piece.
“My neighbours shouted out of the window to him but he shouted obscenities back and carried on with what he was doing.
“He only stopped and ran away when my neighbours came out after him.
“I’m grateful they alerted us to what happened. We’re now much more aware of who drives past our cul-de-sac in case they come back.
“My worry is how do I stop it happening again? I now need to pay the excess on my insurance which is £350 – money I don’t just have lying around
“Peter later said he should have gone back outside but you don’t know how people are going to react, what they’re carrying or how violent they could be.”
Hayley is now sharing the CCTV footage in a bid to catch the culprits and warn other Corsa drivers about people sneaking up on vehicles in the dead of night and swiping parts to sell on.
A Vauxhall spokesman said: “There are no security or design issues with our best-selling Corsa.
“The Corsa has been a huge sales success since it was launched over 25 years ago, so there are proportionally more on the road than other less popular models.
“This is wanton vandalism, if a thief is determined enough they can steal parts from any make of car.”
West Midlands Police confirmed they were looking into the incident.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We were called to reports of theft from a motor vehicle from an address in Bromford which is believed to have happened sometime between 1.50 am and 2.50am on May 2.”