A BUSINESSMAN has lost thousands of pounds after a trailer was stolen and found crashed more than 60 miles away.
Ashley Meredith, 21, of Station Road, Drayton, Portsmouth, bought the trailer and stored it near Ringwood.
He discovered it had been stolen after spending £15,000 on refurbishing it for use selling food at shows and car boot sales, and had bought an expensive coffee machine.
After it was stolen his sister Sian Meredith, 24, put out a plea on Facebook and Twitter to find the trailer.
To his amazement, the trailer had been damaged in a crash on the M3 and a picture was tweeted by Surrey police.
A car towing the trailer, which Ashley planned to use to sell hot food, had jack-knifed, all but destroying the trailer.
He was then put in touch with the police by eagle-eyed users on social media and an investigation was started.
He said: ‘It’s a nightmare. It cost about £16,000 all together and I’ve lost it all overnight.
‘It’s all smashed to pieces. The main thing that annoyed me the most was the amount of time and effort.
‘It was quite an old trailer, I was out until midnight most days fixing bits on it.’
Ashley had restored the trailer and was planning to use it to sell coffee and hot food at a popular car boot sale at Three Legged Cross near Ringwood, where it was stored when thieves struck.
His sister Sian said the trailer was under lock and key behind security gates but these had been cut.
She added: He’s out of pocket by about £16,000. He just spent £3,000 on a brand new coffee machine and I don’t think it’s going to work.’
She added: ‘He only had it about three or four weeks.
‘It was an old one, it was awful, but he spent hours making it better.’
A Surrey police spokeswoman said the force had been called to a crash on the M3 just after 8am on March 27.
She said: ‘The collision took place on the eastbound carriageway going towards London between junctions 3 and 2.
‘It is reported that a blue Renault Grand Espace which was towing a catering trailer was in a collision with the barrier causing the trailer to overturn.’
No-one was injured and a man was arrested on suspicion of theft and handed over to police in Dorset, she added.
A Dorset police spokesman said: ‘A 52-year-old man from Berkshire has been arrested on suspicion of theft and is currently on police bail until the end of April pending further enquiries.’