'Our van was stolen twice in one night'

A COUPLE told of their disbelief today after their van was stolen twice in one night - despite police inspecting it after the first thieves dumped it.

Grant Sherlock

A COUPLE told of their disbelief today after their van was stolen twice in one night - despite police inspecting it after the first thieves dumped it.

Maxine and Steven Parker have been left dumbstruck after officers were called to Iris Close in Ipswich after the white Ford Escort was left by youths seen acting suspiciously in the area.

But despite officers being sent out to look at the car and track down its owners it was left vulnerable to be stolen again - and was again snatched.

Between them the thieves escaped with gardening equipment worth £3,000 and caused enough damage to the van that it could be declared a write-off - not to mention the fact the Parkers had to pay £105 to have it recovered.

Today the Parkers, who have already fallen victim to a £7,000 vehicle cloning scam this year, called for police to make sure similar mistakes didn't happen again as they sought compensation for what they have described as police bungling.

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Mrs Parker, a 49-year-old nursery nurse who lives in north west Ipswichsaid: “It has been a nightmare. It shouldn't have happened.”

Their night-to-forget began with a missed phone call at 4am, which they later found out was a policeman calling to say their van had been found dumped in Iris Close near Gippeswyk Park after an alert resident reported seeing youths acting suspiciously around it.

However it wasn't until the next morning when Mr Parker, 52, who used the van for his gardening business, rang to report it stolen that he found out police had already been out to inspect it in the early hours.

But later in the day they realised the van had been stolen again in the time it took police to check whether it had actually been stolen and organise for forensic officers to go and inspect it.

Mrs Parker said: “At 3.30pm the police phoned us to ask if my husband had picked the van up. It had been there from just after midnight, police were there at 12.45am and had been taken some time after.

“How it was allowed to be re-stolen is just mind boggling really. I was seething when we found out.”

When the police found the van again it had been dumped in Grove Walk in the Pinebrook area of Ipswich and had had its back doors prised open and the steering column broken.

A Suffolk police spokeswoman said: “Police have received a formal complaint about the matter and it is being investigated.”

Anyone with any information about either of the thefts should contact Sergeant Scott Cullum at Ipswich police on 01473 613500.

How the events unfolded:

- Ford Escort van disappears from the Parker's driveway sometime after dark on Sunday, August 10

- A resident in Iris Close reports youths acting suspiciously around a van at about midnight on August 11

-12.45am: Police inspect the van in Iris Close

- 4am: The Parkers miss a call from police telling them about the van

- 8.30am: Mr Parker reports the van stolen after finding his driveway empty. Police tell him they are aware of it but ask him not to pick it up so that they can get forensic officers to look for evidence

- 3.30pm: Police call Mr Parker asking if he has collected the van because forensic officers arrived in Iris Close at 3.11pm only to find it was no longer there

- The van is later found in Grove Walk

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