Appeal after one-of-a-kind car theft

Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott, of Fylde police, said the theft of Land Rover Defenders is a national issue, after one was taken from East Beach in Lytham
Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott, of Fylde police, said the theft of Land Rover Defenders is a national issue, after one was taken from East Beach in Lytham

A Fylde coast businessman has launched an appeal for information after a one-of-a-kind Land Rover was stolen from outside his home.

Phil Lee, owner of Auto Expert Garage, in Squires Gate Lane, South Shore, has appealed for help after his “unique” Land Rover Defender 110 Wide Arch Sport was taken from near his home on East Beach, Lytham, last month.

Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott

Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott

Mr Lee said the vehicle, which cost more than £30,000, was taken overnight on Saturday, May 23.

The 32-year-old said he had been left devastated by the theft of the car, which took him 12 months to modify.

He added: “People kept telling me there was a spate of cars being nicked.

“I woke up on the Sunday morning and there was a gap where my car was. It was alarmed and immobilised but they have managed to get around it.

It is a one-of-a-kind car, with a special body kit

“I called the police but they have got no further. We gave it a makeover at the garage – that’s what we do.

“It is a one-of-a-kind car, with a special body kit to make it totally individual.

“It can’t get sold on because nothing is standard.”

Since the theft of the car an appeal has been launched on Facebook for information, with a picture of the Land Rover shared more than 800 times.

Fylde’s head of police Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott said an attempt was made to break into a Land Rover on the same night in Lytham, admitting the vehicles have a high overseas value.

He said: “Generally speaking Land Rover Defenders are quite sought after, in particular for stealing vehicles for export.

“The investigation is ongoing. We know from our camera work the vehicle has been taken out of the area and we are doing further enquiries to that.

“The targeting of Land Rover Defenders is a national issue. They are sought after internationally and people will target them.

“In this case the vehicle was secure and a modern vehicle with modern safety mechanisms in place. The thieves have gone to a lot of effort – they are not opportunist. Security was not an issue.

“The owner could not have done much more. In general terms these people are very, very determined and go to a lot of effort to override vehicle security.”

A Lancashire police spokesman added: “The theft is still under investigation.

“The incident was reported to us on Sunday, May 24 at 9am. The investigation is continuing.”

‘I would encourage owners not to leave valuables on display’

Following the theft, Insp Mark Thackeray-Scott urged motorists to remain vigilant.

Insp Thackeray Scott added: “We tend to have some issues about vehicles being broken into.

“In general terms I would encourage owners not to leave valuables on display.

“In cases like this I would encourage where possible to put cars in the garage and people can’t identify them in the area.

“That does help. The victim here has a lot of security but Land Rovers are pretty renowned for their overseas value.”

Anybody with any information can contact Lancashire Police by calling 101 quoting crime reference WA1506220.

Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.