A genuine Indian Tuk Tuk vehicle brought to the Capital and restored by a local business has been destroyed by thieves.
The motorised rickshaw – an authentic Bajaj Tuk Tuk’s which are becoming increasingly rare in India – was one of three painstakingly restored by Jack Hussain, 25, along with his cousin Mukta, 22, and friend Rizvi Khaleque, 22.
The trio were hired by restaurant Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food on Leven Street which is launching in the Capital next week, as part of a graduate programme.
The Tuk Tuk was stolen in the early hours of Monday morning from a driveway in Succoth Court, in the Ravelston area of the city. Shortly after the theft was reported to the police the vehicle was found burnt out in a nearby street.
Jack said: “The food in the restaurant will be inspired by street food in India, and this has been a real project of passion for all of us. I was responsible for the promotional side and went to India with a team and purchased the three used original Bajaj Tuk Tuks. They weren’t easy to find, but we wanted everything to be as authentic as possible.
“We had to have them shipped back to Scotland and since then I have spent hundreds of hours painstakingly restoring them, making all the repairs and taking the steps necessary to make them road legal in this country. All in all we must have spent about £15,000. It was a lot of work, but I felt it was worth it – or at least, it would have been.”
With the Tuk Tuks finally ready for action, the plan was to launch them around the city next week.
Jack continued: “We were going to combine the restaurant launch with Movember. All our staff would wear moustaches – some of the guys have real ones, but the others would have been fake – and hand out chutney and curry sauces in preparation for the launch of our product lines. We would be donating a proportion of our profits to charity for Movember.
“It was about 9am on Monday that we realised the Tuk Tuk had been stolen. We called the police straight away and it wasn’t long before they found the vehicle burnt out nearby. Whoever took it either hotwired it or simply wheeled it away, then set fire to it. When the police spoke to our neighbours they said they’d heard some noises outside at about 3am, but no one actually saw anything.”
Despite the setback, Jack, Mukta and Rizvi are pushing on with next week’s launch.
“We’re just going to have to make do with two. The vehicle was insured, so at least there’s that, but Bajaj Tuk Tuk’s are not easy to find.”
A police spokesperson said: “Police are investigating following the theft of a vehicle in Edinburgh which was later found burnt out.
“The vehicle was stolen sometime between 11.30pm on Sunday, October 28 and 9.20am on Monday, October 29 from Succoth Court.
“It was found burnt out in Succoth Close around 10.30am on Monday, October 29.
“Anyone with information should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131-311 3131.”