NEWS that police had found Ray Calvert's stolen recovery truck should have brought relief - but instead brought more heartbreak.

For the garage owner's beloved maroon truck had been resprayed white, the sides damaged , the straps gone and the interior trashed.

It was not just the state of the truck that hurt, said Mr Calvert who runs Quarry House garage in Undercliffe, it was also the £380 charge he had to pay to get it back.

Mr Calvert believes the truck was stolen because whoever took it wanted the digger on its back, worth between £10,000 and £20,000.

Speaking just after he had seen the state of the truck, he said: "I couldn't believe it! It's absolutely horrid. It's in such a bad way, I wish I'd never got it back to be honest."

The £5,000 Iveco truck had been specially built so it could carry classic cars. It also had a painted sign on it and a picture of Mr Calvert's father-in-law John Caswell, who had helped with the business before his death - but that too has been painted over.

Police told Mr Calvert they had traced the truck when it was spotted being driven down the M62 by a suspected drink driver.

The vehicle was then taken to a compound in Stonywood, Halifax.

"I would happily have gone and recovered the truck myself if they had given me the chance, after all I'm in that business - I'm a garage after all!

"Having to fork out that extra cash is another kick in the teeth. The garage told me the money was for the police not for them but the police didn't do anything to help trace the truck even though I had CCTV footage as clear as day. I shouldn't have had to pay."

A police spokesman said that although the recovery of Mr Calvert's truck was on behalf of the police authority, the money would have gone to the garage compound whose charges are statutory and set by the Home Office.

A 44-year-old man from Leeds arrested on suspicion of theft of a vehicle is now on bail.