A trio of Toyota Hiace vans is proving the perfect transport for a team of Midlands dog wardens. Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has taken delivery of the specially adapted Toyota Hiace 280 GS models from the Pinkstones Toyota dealership in neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent.

The authority undertook careful market research when the time came to replace its existing fleet and found that Toyota came out on top in terms of design, performance and cost. It brings the council back to Toyota, having run Liteace vans for its wardens in the early 1990s.

“When we test drove the Hiace we were impressed by its manoeuvrability, the good all-round vision for the driver and the fact there is more cab space, with room for two passengers,” said council spokesman David Beardmore.

“It is also larger than the vehicles we were using previously and that helps us be visible in the community and make people aware of the work we are doing.”

The standard wheelbase Hiace 280 GS models selected by the council are equipped with an 88bhp version of Toyota’s 2.5-litre D-4D diesel engine. The standard specification includes driver’s airbag, seatbelts with pretensioners, tilt-adjustable steering column, mudflaps and a heated rear screen.

The extra load space offered by the Hiace means there is room for two main kennels and a storage area for the wardens’ equipment which can be accessed separately via a side door. This space can also be used as a third kennel.

The Hiace’s tailgate proved another selling point for the council as it provides shelter from the elements when loading and unloading the animals.

“Where Pinkstones is concerned, we were impressed by the personal service, the clear understanding of our detailed requirements and the enthusiasm to find the right solution,” said Mr Beardmore. “They also provided the most competitive quote in terms of support and service.”

Vehicle contracts have been written by Motiva Vehicle Contracts Ltd of Stoke-on-Trent and the specialised conversion work has also been undertaken in the local area.

“We are delighted that the council has come back to Toyota after trying other vehicles,” said Pinkstones Fleet Sales Manager Martyn Davies. By choosing the Hiace, it has been able to enjoy the benefits of a larger vehicle and achieve a financial saving, too. We hope that the dogs will appreciate the great space inside the Hiace, too.”

Newcastle’s dog wardens are kept busy rounding up strays from a local canine population of around 15,000 animals. They also deal with many of the 500 or so dog-related complaints the council receives each year.


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