A couple have been left devastated after their campervan was stolen from their driveway as they packed to go on holiday.

Derek Holland, 73, of Burton near Rossett, said he and his wife were loading up the campervan on Monday, excited to get on the road for a three month holiday in France.

But when the couple went inside to retrieve the last items to load into the van, they were horrified to hear the engine start before seeing it whizzing away down the road.

Mr Holland said: “We had spent ages packing the van up, me and my wife were so excited because it’s her birthday tomorrow and we were heading to France for three months to have a relaxing holiday.

“I was in the bedroom grabbing the last bits of bedding and then I heard the engine start, and the next thing I know my wife is running into the room screaming that there was somebody in the van.

“We both rushed outside but by the time we got there it was already off the driveway and zooming down the road away from us.

The Leader:

Derek Holland with his wife Heather

“I quickly jumped into the car and took off after him, and I managed to cut him off as I knew he was heading towards Rossett. I pulled up in front of him and blocked the road, but he actually mounted the grass verge at the side of the road to get around me and kept zooming away.

“By the time I’d managed to turn the car around, another car had got in front of me and separated us, by the time I managed to find a place to overtake, the campervan was way gone, I had lost it.”

Mr Holland said he and his wife have lost clothes, tools, camping equipment and a printer which were all inside the campervan when it was taken.

He added: “They didn’t take the keys for it, because they were in the kitchen at the time and were still in there when I got back, and the time between us going inside and the campervan engine starting was too quick for them to have hotwired it.

“The only explanation I can think of is that they stole the transponder code from my key and put it on theirs.

“I was confused as to how they could have got it going so I had a look on the internet and found out that you can get these gadgets now that you plug into your laptop, and if you get close enough to another person’s key, it can read and steal their transponder code, and put it onto your key instead, so when you put your key in their engine, the engine reads that it’s the right key and starts up.

“They say it only takes a matter of seconds to do, so that for me is the only explanation as to how it could have been done.

“I’m gutted to be honest because we’ve had that campervan for six years, and it’s so useful and beneficial to us.

“It’s ruined all our future holidays now because, you see, my wife has Crohn’s disease, so she often has to use the toilet, and so it made it much easier for us to have this mode of transport that had a toilet built in, so my wife can go to the toilet as often as she wants and feel comfortable.

“Now we don’t have it, so we don’t know how we’re going to get to France anymore, we will probably have to sell our static caravan that we have down there.”

Mr Holland said he has notified the police, but that he has not heard anything back since the initial contact he had on the day.

He also added that he believed the area of Burton was safe, but that has now changed due to this experience.

The Leader:

This campervan was stolen from the driveway whilst the couple were packing

“We moved here in August of last year from Anglesey, and we were told by the locals that this was a very safe neighbourhood where nothing bad ever happens.

“I actually had cameras around my home back in Anglesey, but I decided not to put any up here because I was told how safe and friendly it was here.

“Now I’m in the process of putting up four cameras around my house so that nothing like this ever happens again.

“I’m afraid now that I’m not going to get an insurance pay out because the doors of the campervan were open when it was taken, we left them open because we thought it was safe, but now it’s gone and I won’t get any money for it.

“I’m just gutted, I’m sad, I’m angry, I just can’t believe somebody would do this.”

A spokesman from North Wales Police has said: “We received a call at 5.43pm on Monday 15th April reporting that a silver Ford Transit camper van had been taken from a driveway in the Rossett area.

“Enquiries are currently ongoing, and we would request that if anyone has any information that they contact us on 101 or via our live webchat.”