A TRACTOR was recovered by officers from Essex Police and returned to its rightful owner before he had even realised it had been taken.

On Friday, officers from Chelmsford Local Policing team were on duty in Wickford when they spotted a tractor which looked out of place on land off Meadow Lane.

Officers checked the surrounding area and search the Police National Computer to find out where the vehicle belonged.

The owner was informed of the vehicle being found, but said he was unaware it had been stolen from his farm off Walden House Road, Great Totham.

Enquiries into the theft, which took place overnight on Thursday, are ongoing.

Sgt Richard Everitt, from Chelmsford Local Policing Team, said: "The man was pleased his tractor had been recovered so quickly but of course, frustrated that it had been stolen.

“We’ve returned it to him this morning. We will continue to disrupt and tackle theft in rural areas.”

Anyone with information about criminal activity in rural communities is asked to call 101 or report it online: www.essex.police.uk/doitonline

Or you can make an anonymous report through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If a crime is taking place or there is an emergency, always dial 999.