For 53 years the Cheam and Sutton Christmas Float has brought joy to the area.

But this year it has been put at risk as the replacement van bought by Cheam and Sutton Rotary, who run the Float, was stolen on September 18 in Coulsdon Road.

The rotary club bought the van - which was planned for joint use with the Banstead District Scouts - just 12 days before the theft.

RELATED: Cheam and Sutton Rotary raise £18,000 for charities over Christmas

Rotary president Brendan McWilliams said the understanding was that their group would buy the van to use as the Santa Float in December and some days in May for transporting equipment for the Rotary May Fair. For the rest of the time the scouts would use and maintain it.

Your Local Guardian:

The stolen van

"Each year the Cheam and Sutton Rotary convert the van to a Santa Sleigh and visit all the streets of Sutton and Cheam to bring Christmas cheer to the residents as well as to raise funds for charities," Mr McWilliams said.

"A reserve was built up over the years to buy this replacement van.

"Both Rotary and Banstead District Scouts are devastated by the theft."

A picture of the van was circulated on Facebook, but it is still yet to be found.

Your Local Guardian:

The stolen van

"We are grateful for the support our community has given us during this difficult time," Mr McWilliams added

"The photo of the van has been distributed far and wide.

"We are still hoping and waiting for its return. We will try our best to have the Christmas Float parading again this year”.

The van’s registration number is OV12FDU. It is a white 2012 Ford Transit with a high top and long wheelbase.

It had just been fitted with a large Rhino roof rack, to hold the Sleigh’s side panels in place and a tow bar rear step all of which are brand new.

If you see this van anywhere you are asked to get in touch with the rotary club at