A FORMER police officer has spoken of his devastation after a fire destroyed his vintage police car.
Flames ripped through the garage at Steve Smith’s home in Spalding Road, Bourne, early on Saturday morning causing irreparable damage to the 1954 Police Wolseley 6/80 stored inside.
The car was thought to be one of only three left in the country and was reported to have carried Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom.
Mr Smith, 54, who retired from the police 18 months ago and is now a bus driver for Delaine, said: “I didn’t believe anybody could be so attached to a piece of metal. I am gutted. I still can’t get over it really.”
Mr Smith bought the Wolseley about five years ago after he saw it for sale on eBay.
The car was fully roadworthy and Mr Smith would often show it at the classic car and bike show on the Wellhead Field. It was capable of reaching 80mph and had a chrome bell in place of the modern flashing lights and siren.
Mr Smith added: “I always had a passion for a Wolseley. There are a few 6/80s around but only three genuine police vehicles.
“It was a pleasure for me to keep the car going.”
The fire destroyed the garage, which is at the back of Mr Smith’s garden, along with everything inside it. As well as the car the garage also contained a number of tools and gardening equipment.
Fire crews were called at about 3.10am on Saturday morning and found the garage alight when they arrived.
They were unable to save the car, which was also damaged by timber falling from the garage roof.
The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault.
Mr Smith is still coming to terms with what has happened. He said: “It is still early days. To try and replace the car would be difficult. I’ve not really thought much about it.
“The main priority is to make sure the garage is made safe and we carry on from there.”
Mr Smith, who lives with his wife Barbara and son Oliver, served with Lincolnshire police for 30 years before becoming a bus driver.
He said it was lucky no lives were lost in the fire and added: “There is nothing we could have done to prevent it and it is just one of those things.”