An elderly couple were reduced to tears of joy after police officers bought them a car for Christmas to replace one stolen earlier in the year.
Kind-hearted officers in Croydon, south London, surprised the husband and wife, both in their 70s, with keys to their new Vauxhall Corsa which appeared on their driveway on Christmas Day morning.
The couple, known as Mr and Mrs Gibbs, were also presented with a cheque for £2,300.
The special gifts were the result of a collection started by officers after the couple’s beloved Austin Metro was stolen in October from the garage of their Coulsdon home.
The couple, married for nearly 60 years, were left devastated as they relied on the vehicle to get them to and from hospital appointments.
A local car dealership Onodi in West Wickham offered to give the couple a car free of charge, and the donations from the officers and public were given to the couple to help pay for the insurance and MOT.
“Once you leave, I think we will have a good cry,” Mr Gibbs said. “I’m just so overwhelmed, I don’t know what to say.
“I’ve heard of wonderful things happening to people and we try and do our bit for charity, but I never thought this would happen for us.”
Mrs Gibbs added: “You’ve given us our life and our freedom back. I am overwhelmed by the support and generosity you have given us. When (DC Helen Cooper) called to ask if we’d be in on Christmas morning, I thought you were going to give us a little hamper. I had no idea it would be a car.”
She added: “This is an amazing car, it has electric windows, two wing mirrors and no choke. She is amazing. Thank you so so much.
“Make sure you make a note of our registration number so you can give us a wave when you’re out on patrol.”
DC Helen Cooper of Croydon CID said: “Our hearts went out to Mr and Mrs Gibbs when we saw how upset they were to lose their car. It was a real lifeline to them.
“We just had to do something to help them. As well as donations from officers, the local community and general public have all rallied together to raise money for the couple which will cover costs for insurance and MOT.”
The couple’s original car was stolen between 4pm on Friday, October 6 and 10.20am on Sunday, October 8.
Officers more than a week later received a call to reports of an abandoned vehicle and established it belonged to the Gibbs.
Fabion Wilfred, 19, of Goodenough Way, Coulsdon, Surrey, pleaded guilty at South London Magistrates Court to handling stolen goods on December 2.
He will be sentenced at Croydon Crown Court on January 21.