Restaurant owner appeals for information after ‘unique’ red tractor theft

The red tractor was stolen from a warehouse in Newland Road
The red tractor was stolen from a warehouse in Newland Road

The owner of a restaurant group in Worthing is dismayed after a ‘targeted attack’ saw the theft of a ‘unique’ and historic red tractor.

Andy Sparsis, the founder of Proto Restaurants which owns Worthing eateries The Fish Factory, The Fat Greek Taverna and Food, had kept the tractor stored at a warehouse in Newland Street, which was broken into at some point between about midday on Monday (October 9) and 8am on Tuesday.

The red tractor

The red tractor

A number of goods were stolen totalling around £20,000 – but it is the loss of the ‘valuable’ red tractor, which Mr Sparsis bought in France and spent a year restoring, that has upset him the most.

One of only four in the UK, the tractor was built by an American company in Paris during the 1950s.

It has been used by the company at the Rotary Carnival, food festivals and charity functions in Worthing.

Mr Sparsis said: “It’s quite well known in the town.

Andy Sparsis

Andy Sparsis

“It’s got a real backstory, it’s quite unique.”

He said the thieves must have been equipped with tools, as the heavy tractor had been ‘well secured’ and bolted to the ground with several padlocks.

“What’s upsetting is there is that kind of will,” he said.

“It’s a targeted attack on quite a large level.”

Mr Sparsis, who was last at the site at around midday on Monday, was alerted to the theft when a local fisherman noticed the warehouse doors had been opened on Tuesday morning.

The thieves also took a trailer, commercial marquees, barbeques and generators.

He is now calling on anyone who may have witnessed the break-in or has any information to contact police.

A police spokesman confirmed the incident had been reported and asked any witnesses, or anyone who is offered any of the items for sale, to contact police by calling 101 and quoting reference number 955 10/10.