A COUPLE had to move home empty-handed after a removal van carrying their possessions was stolen.

Jane and Steve May, previously of Boley Drive, Clacton, have just embarked on a lengthy move to Derby to be closer to their family.

On Wednesday, the excited couple, who have two sons, loaded their belongings into a removal van.

It was then reportedly taken to the removal company’s depot, located on the Gorse Lane Industrial Estate, ahead of the 181-mile trip on Friday.

Just a few hours after being dropped off, however, at about 9.40pm, the van was stolen... with all the couple’s possessions inside.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Shocked Jane, 61, and Steve, 63, were informed about the theft on Thursday by workers from the removal company and the van is still yet to be recovered.

The couple’s daughter-in-law, Samantha May, 30, put out an appeal with the hope of finding the vehicle and the missing possessions.

She said: “They called us in tears and we were all shocked and absolutely distraught.

“My husband and his brother drove from Cambridge and Derby to be with them.

“All of their possessions were gone and they had to move with nothing.

“They were already nervous about making the move and this was devastating.”

“We had no idea where it was.”

The Ford box transit van is part of a fleet of vans owned by Landmark Removals and Storage.

It had also offered a £1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the thieves.

The van contained everything from furniture and clothes to general appliances.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Hordes of family photos, some of which had not been replicated digitally, were also in the van, which the family was particularly upset about.

“Our family photos would have been of no value to anyone but mean the world to us,” added Samantha.

“The pictures aren’t in digital form so we would have lost images of the children growing up and family who are no longer with us.

“This stuff is irreplaceable. It was like their whole life had been stolen.”

The van was found in Tilbury but its gearbox and engine had been stolen.

Samantha added: “Thanks to the removal company for being so supportive, those that shared out post on social media and those that contacted us with information and CCTV.”