Hungry customers lined up to welcome the return of a stolen food van – which was found thanks to a reader of The Star.
Diners old and new flocked to John’s Van, a catering trailer popular with Sheffield students, as it reopened for business on Hounsfield Road near The University of Sheffield yesterday with a replacement van.
But it was a double celebration for owner Jez Woolley, as police have also found his original vehicle after an anonymous tip-off from a woman who saw an appeal in the newspaper.
The theft – in which the trailer was towed away by a Transit van at around 6.30am on Tuesday, September 10 – sparked a massive online campaign.
Jez, who was hard at work serving workmen their daily dose of bacon sandwiches, said: “It is great to be back in business, we have had a lot of people coming to see the van and saying they missed us.
“I was totally amazed that the old van has been recovered – it has been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest.”
A police spokesman said the stainless steel van – thought to be worth around £8,000 – was recovered in Chapeltown on Monday.
She added: “Information from the public led to police finding it. “A woman phoned in anonymously said she had seen an article in The Star about it.”
Jez thanked the hundreds of people who had supported his campaign – including alumni as far away as Texas in the USA – by sharing information about the theft on Twitter.
Students also created a tongue-in-cheek music video to promote the cause.
“I couldn’t have asked for more support really,” said Jez. “I think it has helped to find the van.
“When I first put out a tweet saying it had been stolen I thought it was worth a shot as it was early in the morning, people were on their way to work and might see it, but it just went mental.
“The students have really been amazing.”