Man turns detective after van theft
A businessman turned detective to track down thousands of pounds Â of stock which went missing along with his van.
Simon Haythornthwaite was left considering whether to carry on trading following the theft.
His van, packed with specialist equine equipment and goods, was taken from outside his home in States Road, St Annes on June 17.
And, frustrated with the progress being made by Lancashire Police, Simon 60, took it upon himself to take up the hunt.
He said: “I was a little bit frustrated with the way things were going.
“I reported this to the police immediately and was told I would receive a phone call back shortly .
“After 16 hours I received a call from a PC at Lancashire police who took some details and told me I would only hear from them again if I had some positive news.”
Simon was told his van was likely outside the county, making it more difficult to trace.
The delays left Simon, who has decades of experience in the horse goods trade, frustrated.
But he did not give up, beginning a trawl of the internet to track down his stolen property.
And his efforts soon paid off.
“I found my goods for sale on Facebook.
“It’s amazing that somebody would just have these items for sale on a well known social network.
“I e-mailed the police immediately and expected them to go straight away and arrest the person.
“There was £8,000 of stock in that van. It was my livelihood.
“I was considering whether it was worth replacing it and carrying on the business.”
Mr Haythornthwaite was less than impressed with the initial response but was pleased to see the police finally acting.
He said: “The initial response I got suggested they would struggle to find the van.
“But once I’d passed on the information they did respond.
“I got an email saying it had been passed on to a sergeant at Greater Manchester Police and they would be handling the case.
“It was good to see the progress being made even if I had set the ball rolling.”
The online seller was tracked to Bolton and on the back of Simon’s tip Lancashire Police passed the case to Greater Manchester Police.
They visited the property and just over a week after the theft, Simon was told his property could be collected from the force.
A Lancashire Police spokesman confirmed it had investigated the theft of a van from States Road and that the case had been passed to Greater Manchester Police.
A spokesman said: “We understand a neighbourhood officer visited a property in Bolton acting on intelligence provided to us by a member of the public.”
The force could not say if there had been any arrests.