A Christmas miracle - Charity which helps the homeless reunited with stolen van
Thieves had stolen a van belonging to charity Emmaus North East, based in South Shields, from the Vic Young garage in the town while it was in for a routine MOT last week.
The van – one of only two owned by the charity – was last traced in Sunderland but thieves then removed the tracker.
The charity launched an appeal for members of the public to look out for the van which enables it to provide much-needed support to vulnerable people.
It warned that the theft would have a devastating impact on the charity’s work following lockdown and in the run up to Christmas.
The van is used on a daily basis to collect donations and to carry out furniture deliveries for their charity shops in Low Fell, Hebburn and South Shields.
It is also used to collect essential food donations for Lucie’s Pantry, the charity’s food bank located in South Shields.
But now the van is in the hands of the police and is due to be returned to the charity in time for Christmas thanks to a member of the public.
Although the Emmaus North East branding had been removed from the van, an individual in Sunderland recognised the vehicle from photos on Friday, December 11 and alerted officers.
Community Manager John Harrison said: “We are amazed and delighted that the van has been located.
"The theft had a devastating impact on the charity and getting it back before Christmas will allow us to operate at full capacity again during the crucial run up to Christmas."
The van is currently with the police for investigation and is believed to still be in working order. After the investigation is complete it will be returned to Emmaus North East.
Mr Harrison added: "I want to say a huge thank you to the individual who spotted the van and to all the people involved in helping us get the van back”.