A MAN who had thousands of pounds of tools stolen from his van says he was forced to turn into a detective and track down the suspected thief via eBay.
John Harmer, from Milton in Portsmouth, has now criticised police for acting too slowly and for sending him a message saying they had ‘no further lines of enquiry’ when his items were for sale on the online auction site.
The 68-year-old, who carries out property maintenance on student rentals with his son Lawrence, had more than £6,000 of tools pinched from his Ford Transit van overnight on Sunday, March 12 when it was parked in Milton.
He said: ‘When I started to look, I found my tools for sale online within minutes.
‘I told the police and they said there was nothing they could do about it.
‘They told me the only sure way that I could get my tools back would be to buy them back, but if I did so, they could charge me with handling stolen goods. It is ridiculous.’
Mr Harmer reported the crime to police on 101 shortly after it happened and he was given a crime reference number.
A short while later, he received a message to say there would be no further investigation and no further action because there were no leads.
He said this prompted him to do his own investigation – but has left him furious.
He said: ‘This theft is destroying my life as I can’t work as I have got no tools.
‘The police had everything they needed but they wouldn’t do anything.
‘They can find the resources to prosecute people for not wearing seat belts but they haven’t got the time for this.
‘There are hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of tools being stolen from vans every day and nothing is being done.’
Mr Harmer said he was certain he had locked his van, and that he thought the thief had used a device called a Tibbe key – a type of lock pick – to bypass the lock to access his tools.
A spokeswoman from Hampshire Constabulary said the incident was originally looked at by the force’s resolution centre.
She said the resolution centre sent the message telling Mr Harmer that there were no lines of enquiry, before closing the case at their end and passing it to neighbourhood police, who would look into it further.
She said an investigation was still ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference 44170093664.
Mr Harmer said he has put in a complaint with the Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane. He said he is still hopeful of being reunited with his tools.