Stolen Sidmouth ‘cats’ found in lane

THIEVES who stole pricey parts from Waitrose delivery vans before Christmas appear to have dumped them – minus their valuable content – less than a mile from the supermarket.

Workers at Sidmouth Garden Centre found three exhausts in a country lane near the business late last week and moved them to a scrap metal skip on-site.

Centre owner Ian Barlow spotted the Mercedes parts and immediately linked them to a yuletide crime at the nearby Stowford Rise supermarket.

The Herald reported last month how criminals left a trio of festive food delivery vehicles out of action when they struck overnight between Monday, December 19, and Tuesday, December 20.

“I thought it was a bit odd, I saw them and made the connection straight away,” said Mr Barlow. “The expensive bits were gone. It appears the culprits drove round the corner from Waitrose, took the exhausts apart and dumped what was left.

“Maybe the offenders didn’t have a big enough vehicle to get away with the entire parts without being noticed.”

Mr Barlow rang both the police and Waitrose. He said police told him they could not categorically link the found parts to those stolen in December.

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He added he has since returned the exhausts to Waitrose.

Police said the stolen catalytic converters, valuable due to precious platinum inside, were valued at a total of �2,400.

Mark Shepherd, Sidmouth store manager, told the Herald last month that security at the site had been revised to prevent a repeat of the offence.