Police in Wyre are hunting an organised crime gang who stole a lorry that was used to commit a crime before it was later found abandoned.
The thieves lifted large metal gates off their hinges to gain access to the compound where the vehicle was parked before jump-starting the engine and fleeing under the cover of darkness.
The £25,000 lorry, stolen from Capstick Home Design, on Green Lane West, Garstang, was then fitted with false number plates and driven to the Greater Manchester area.
Police investigating the theft, which took place in the early hours of Tuesday, say it was used to commit another similar offence before it was recovered in Oldham.
PC Dave Kerfoot, community beat manager for Garstang, said: “Our investigation has shown that the HGV left the compound at 12.20am on Tuesday and headed in the direction of the A6.
“We suspect that the team arrived in a further vehicle at around 11.30pm and probably parked their vehicle on Birch Road.
“We have managed to establish that the vehicle was then used to commit further crime in the Manchester area at around 5am.
“We are pleased to be able to confirm that we have recovered the vehicle, which was displaying false registration plates, however the hard work now begins to try and identify the offenders.”
Police are appealing for anyone who saw the vehicle and any others travelling in convoy to get in touch. Officers are also keen to hear from anyone with CCTV footage from the area.
PC Kerfoot added: “We are interested to hear from anyone that may have seen this wagon between 12.20am and 5.30am on Tuesday in order that we can establish the route that the team took.”
In a Facebook post, Capstick Home Design praised the police for their efforts to recover the vehicle.
A statement said: “As we all know with the never ending police funding cuts there has been an increase in crime within our community. With the effort and hard work that our few local police officers put in they have managed to locate our wagon and will in time hopefully be able to bring the offenders to justice.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.