A couple were shocked and angry after vandals caused £4,000 of damage by tearing the door off of one of their cars and breaking into another.
Alex Gibbons, 26, of Lady Margaret Road, Ifield, has worked on cars as a hobby for 10 years but one of his projects was left a write-off after crooks struck.
Alex, a petrol station attendant, had been working on his purple Volkswagen Jetta Mk2 for a year, giving it a new engine, gear box, interiors and paint job.
His girlfriend Zoe Sheaderwas stunned when she found the vehicle with its front passenger door broken off and crowbar marks all over the bonnet.
Zoe, 25, who also had her car broken into, estimated the cost of the damage to Alex’s car to be around £4,000.
She said: “We’re still in shock. Alex was very upset and angry.
“He wouldn’t have minded if they had just smashed the windows, it’s that they ripped the door off.
“It’s not something you expect people to do.”
The couple had parked their cars on Lady Margaret Road and took their valuables home.
Zoe, a catering manager, thinks the criminals had planned to hot-wire the Volkwagen.
She said: “It’s just a plain-looking car from the outside.
“I think they were probably trying to steal Alex’s car because of its age – it’s easy to hot wire.”
She added: “They couldn’t find the battery to jump start it because Alex put it in a different place than normal.”
Zoe said she and Alex had hoped their vehicles would be safe after they moved to Ifield from Broadfield.
Alex has not been put-off working on cars and plans to buy a new vehicle to work on .
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police received a report that two cars had been broken into in Lady Margaret Road, Ifield, sometime between 11pm on Monday (December 9) and 6.30am on Tuesday (December 10).
“Anyone with information should call 101 quoting serial 01645 of 10/12.”