A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD has been reunited with his stolen kart just days before he was due to race in it.
The vehicle, called a mini-sprint, belonged to young Harry Franklin. It was taken from his family's West Croydon lock-up on Friday night, and eventually found in a nearby garage on Tuesday.
Harry's mother Carolyn Franklin had appealed on Facebook and online racing message boards for the return of the vehicle, handmade by Harry's father and grandfather.
The search was all the more desperate because Harry was due to race today.
Luckily the appeal drew hundreds of responses, and eventually an accurate tip-off.
"I am absolutely overwhelmed, from the bottom of my heart," said Mrs Franklin, of Montacute Road in New Addington.
"People even offered money and the use of another one for this Saturday's racing. There are some decent people out there."
Mrs Franklin hid the disappearance from the youngster at first, hoping it would turn up before his fortnightly race.
But, as hope faded and the family spent more and more time driving around Croydon searching, she was forced to admit the truth.
"I said, 'I think I need to tell you we are actually looking for your minisprint," she explained.
"He was very angry when it was found damaged."
The distinctive vehicle is emblazoned with the name of Harry's sponsor and his dad's employer, Stak Scaffold Ltd, and painted red, Harry's favourite colour.
It was found in a garage after a tip-off, but was missing a back axle and with broken metal sheets, which Mr Franklin will now have to repair.
The vehicle cost around £2,000 to build and used to belong to Harry's older brother George, now aged ten, before he outgrew the sport.
Mrs Franklin said George, too, was angry when he found out about the theft of the cart, which had been kept safely in the lock-up over the past four years.
Harry only took up the sport this season, and competes every other weekend in Dartford, Kent.
Mrs Franklin added: "He totally loves it, he's very good and keeps him busy every other Saturday evening, where he's made friends with other boys and girls for his age."
Police are now investigating how the vehicle came to be in the garage.