MEMBERS of a legendary Essex band have celebrated the return of their stolen van containing all their equipment after a media frenzy made it “too hot to handle.”

Dr Feelgood suffered the theft of original bassist and founding member Phil Mitchell’s van, which was stocked with all their equipment for a European tour, on Tuesday morning from his Hockley driveway.

One of the stolen items was Mr Mitchell’s guitar he has played since he was 17, with a massive amount of sentimental value.

However, just two days after the van was stolen, police have successfully recovered the van from a chop shop in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, with the band’s equipment found nearby – though no arrests have been made yet.

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Celebrating - Dr Feelgood on stageCelebrating - Dr Feelgood on stage (Image: Phil Mitchell)

Mr Mitchell has thanked the involvement of the community and the media in raising so much awareness and talked of his happiness in seeing so many come forward in the band’s moment of need.

“It has been amazing, I have had a lot of people contact me with offers of equipment, so many people I haven’t talked to in years have stepped out to help us.

“We are all reasonably hopeful at the moment that the gear is intact, and it is great that police got on it so quickly.

“I suspect they got on it quick after the first media coverage, we had a couple police round here and that wouldn’t have been the case if we just reported it to insurance.

“The rush of media attention really spurred everything on, it was incredible.”

Mr Mitchell is yet to get his hands back on his prized guitar but feels hopeful that once police have finished their forensics checks, they will be reunited once more.

PC Paul Gerrish, of the stolen vehicle intelligence unit, said: “I know that the band are due to start a tour of Germany and without us finding the kit, I know it would have severely affected their plans.

“It was the presence of the equipment, which was clearly of value, which allowed us to make the quick connection.

“We know that it is quite often the personal possessions in a vehicle, which cannot be replaced, which are far more valuable to people than the vehicle itself so I’m really happy that we’ll be able to reunite the equipment with the band.”