Early Christmas miracle for gardener Mark

Mark's van which was stolen on Wednesday.
Mark's van which was stolen on Wednesday.

A landscape gardener has expressed his thanks after an appeal on social media resulted in his stolen van being found.

Former St James CE Primary School and Ribblesdale High School pupil Mark Leach’s van was stolen while he was finishing off a job in Clitheroe at around 2-30pm on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old was completing a gardening job in Dorset Drive when his van and his gardening tools were stolen.

“I had just finished the job and had put my tools away in the back of the van when I realised I’d left my gloves in the garden,” Mark explained. “I’d left my car keys on the driver’s seat as I knew I’d only be a minute or so, but when I got back the van had been stolen.”

“Dorset Drive is such a quiet respectable area and it was the last thing I thought would happen,” added Mark.

This was the second time father-of-two Mark had been targeted by thieves.

His two-year-old daughter Francesca was just a couple of months old when tools were once again stolen from his van, which he had left locked up and secure. This second theft happened when his new baby son Benjamin was just 17 days old.

“I lost £1,600 worth of tools the first time and another thousand this time, plus my van which I’d only bought recently and cost £6,000.”

Mark, who now lives in Great Harwood with his wife Helen and their young children, was planning on borrowing his mum’s car to keep the business going until he received a phone call on Friday night from someone who had seen his van.

It had been spotted on the M65 and after the police were subsequently informed the van was followed to an address in Chorley where it was recovered and three people arrested.

“I would just like to thank everyone for sharing the post on Facebook and for getting my van back. I would not have been able to carry on working if I had not got it back,” said Mark. “My wife has described it as a ‘Christmas miracle’!”