Camper van smashes through home of elderly couple

An elderly couple were left stunned when a camper van smashed through their bathroom while they were watching TV. Police think thieves tried to hotwire the van at about 11.30pm last night and get it going with a jump start before they lost control of it. The van demolished the garden wall of a house on the opposite corner of Claypool Road in Horwich before taking down a panel of the house’s side fence. It then crashed through the bathroom window, which has now been boarded up.


The couple said they were startled by a loud bang, then went into the bathroom to find it showered in dirt and glass. One of the pair, who asked not to be named, said the first thing he saw was writing in German on the side of the Volkswagen camper van — and his first thought was that the house had been hit by an aircraft. Initially, police thought that the vehicle’s handbrake had failed, but further investigation, after the van had been dragged out, suggested that it had been tampered with.

Nobody was hurt, but had anyone been using the toilet at the time of the crash, the consequences could have been disastrous, the couple said.

The man said: “We were sitting in the living room at about 11.30pm watching TV when it happened. “There was this noise — it was not just a bang, it was an explosion. Then I saw the bathroom had been caved in by this white thing which had a foreign language on it.”

“My immediate thought was that an aircraft had dropped down but then I realised what it was. It is just fortunate neither of us were in the bathroom. Five minutes later there could have been.”

Engineers were at the scene today trying to make the building safe while the couple cleaned up the mess. An industrial crane was sent out in the night to haul the car out of the side of the house. Nobody has been arrested.

Det Insp Charlotte Cadden said: “We are investigating the attempted theft of a camper van. The thieves have ended up allowing the van to roll into the side of the house, causing a lot of distress, cost and inconvenience to the residents, who were not injured but have understandably been left shocked.”