Dad drives TANK to supermarket as it’s only way to convince kids to help with weekly shop

A dad drives a tank to the supermarket to do his weekly shop – in order to get his kids to help out with the groceries.

Gary Freeland, from Amesbury in Wiltshire, entices his kids to help him with the family’s weekly food shop by taking the £20,000 reinforced vehicle.

The 35-year-old dad of three to Freddie, 13, Phoebe, nine, and Harrison, one, has been into tanks from a young age as his grandad owned ex-military vehicles which also sparked him to join the army at 16.

Gary spent £20k on the vehicle and uses it in his day-to-day life, which gets the attention of locals as he drives through the fuel station and parks it up in the supermarket car park.

The 400-litre tank would set Gary back almost £800 to fill it with petrol with today’s rocketing fuel prices.

He said: “I keep the tank on my driveway. It’s parked next to our other car.

“It gets lots of attention from people as they walk past our house as it’s certainly not something you expect to see every day.

“When I take the tank to do the weekly food shop with the kids, people are always joking with me and asking me why I don’t park it in the parent and child space.

“The tank is the best way to get the kids to go somewhere. They can’t wait to help me with the shopping when they know I am going in the tank.

“They think it is great because none of their friends gets driven around in an army tank.

“The good thing about taking the tank to the supermarkets is that it’s got lots of room for the shopping bags and it will never get dented by a passing trolley.

“And even though the tank is massive, people still tend to park either side of it which makes it very hard to get out of the parking space.

“Freddie helps me navigate my way out. He is a great tank commander!

“He is always showing pictures and videos of it to his friends.

“It’s great fun to get out and about in the tank.

“As well as taking it to the shops, we go to the fuel station in it and just general drives.

“I’ve even had tank driving birthday parties for my son which he absolutely loved.

“My partner thinks I am crazy but she also finds it funny. She’s not been in that tank yet, but I am hoping that one day she will jump in and come for a ride in it.”

Gary, who is still in the army, often goes around different army bases and restores tanks that are being used as gate guards.

Gary’s initial interest came about because he grew up around ex-military vehicles and as soon as he could walk he was helping his grandad out with them.

He said: “Driving the tank is actually quite hard work because you control it using sticks rather than a steering wheel.

“It involves a lot of pulling and you have to have your wits about you!

“People are so shocked when they see a tank on the road they seem to lose concentration and drift.

“The visibility is fairly good, however, you do need someone at the top to check the back of the tank.

“The tank is quite quick too. The fastest I have been in it is around 50mph.

“The kids love it and always want to get involved. They love checking that everything is working okay, just like the way I used to help my grandad.

“People think it is amazing when they see the tank and the shocked look on people’s faces is always a picture.”