Brazen thieves stole custom-built equipment worth £150,000 after driving onto a Thornton business estate in broad daylight.
But police believe the criminals made a big mistake by going after four metal rotors – which are difficult to sell and useless in the wrong hands – and say they could have been dumped somewhere in the area.
The men loaded four heavy metal rotors into a van in front of staff at engineering firm Carter and Son, on the Red Marsh industrial estate, who thought they had come to pick them up on behalf of a client.
But despite the high price tag attached to the two-foot objects, which are used as part of a mixing machine at a chemical plant, detectives said the thieves will be lucky to get £1,000 for them as scrap metal.
Det Con Steve Montgomery, of Fleetwood CID, said: “This was very brazen, in broad daylight. Two white men wearing hard hats and blue overalls used lifting equipment to get the rotors into a white Mercedes Sprinter van.
“They have driven into the yard and stolen some very specialised equipment worth £150,000. But these things are made to order and are no good to anybody else – as scrap they may be worth about a £1,000.
“Because of how they are made and what they are made of, the rotors may be difficult to off-load.
“They probably stole them thinking they were scrap metal but it may be they have been dumped somewhere because they can’t get rid of them.”
The theft took place at around 4.10pm on January 22 at the company’s Brookside site.
Although Carters do not own the rotors, they were looking after them while they worked on them for a client and are now liable for the cost.
The rotors form a major part of a larger piece of equipment.
Det Con Montgomery added: “That is obviously a huge amount of money for a small family-run firm.
“We are following some leads into the van but we want to get the photo out there in case anyone has seen them.”
He appealed for anyone who has information about the theft or anyone who spots the rotors dumped somewhere to get in touch with police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.