Police demand £150 from tradesman - after he finds his own stolen van

Worrying about theft of tools and vehicles is second nature for many tradesmen, given how tool theft is still on the rise in the UK. And when tools are stolen, there is often very little the police can do if the thieves are particularly canny.

So imagine you had your van stolen, managed to hunt it down by yourself, then ended up with a £150 charge for the privilege. That’s what happened to Darren Hands, a carpenter from Birmingham, a few weeks ago.

£150 charge for forensic evidence

Hands’s van was stolen from outside his home in Sheldon, east Birmingham, but he was able to track it down using an installed tracker system. It turned up in Alcocks Green, approximately three miles from where it was taken.

The police were then called, and an officer asked if the van could be taken for forensic tests. He agreed, once he’d retrieved his tools, but was then asked to pay £150 to have the van returned to him.

Hands said: “At no point was I made aware that I would incur a fee for having the van dusted for prints. I certainly wouldn’t have let it go if I knew I was going to be billed for getting it back. I really find it unbelievable.”

Police agree to swallow the cost

In a letter sent by a company working on behalf of West Midlands Police, Hands was told he had to pay up, or his van would be sold.

The force have now agreed to swallow the cost themselves after the case was reviewed by a senior police officer. A spokeswoman said: “A senior officer has reviewed the details of this case and it has been decided it would not be appropriate for the victim in this matter to pay the standard vehicle recovery charge.”

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