A farmer has been dubbed “Miss Marple” by his friends after catching out thieves who raided his farm then advertised his items on eBay.
Sheep farmer turned detective Craig Parkinson discovered around £4,000 of machinery and stock had been stolen from one of the outbuildings at his farm on Johnsons Meanygate, Tarleton, near Preston, in an overnight raid.
The 48-year-old reported it to police and feared there was little hope of recovering his items.
But the father-of-two decided to take the matter into his own hands when his daughter suggested he looked for his items on the online auction site.
Mr Parkinson, who also runs a mole catching business, found a distinctive Ryobi pressure washer for sale 10 miles away within minutes of logging on.
And in other pictures the thief was blatantly advertising, Mr Parkinson could see boxes of his stolen items in the background.
Today he said: “We e-mailed him pretending to be a customer to get his address, and did a drive by to get the registration number, then we passed the information to the police.
“My friends have been winding me up and calling me Miss Marple.
Officers raided two addresses in Southport last October and found items stolen from more than a dozen farms worth around £15,000.
Christopher Taylor, 27, from Crescent Road, Southport, was jailed for five months at Liverpool Crown Court after admitting the break-in. An eight month suspended sentence for wounding was activated.