Manchester

Locksmith attacked as van with £50,000 of kit stolen

interior of van with equipment Image copyright GMP
Image caption Police have released an image of the stolen van, which they are trying to trace

Police believe a locksmith may have been booked by criminals via a third party before they attacked him and stole a van with £50,000 worth of kit.

The man, in his 70s, was programming a key in his van when he was approached by two men in Kestrel Avenue, Salford after midnight on Friday, police said.

They grabbed him out and punched him, before fleeing in the van.

The victim, who lives in Lancashire, has minor injuries but is "shaken".

A police spokesperson said they had "established that the locksmith may have actually been booked by the offenders via a third party who had claimed they had lost their key".

They are appealing for information about two white men in their 20s who were wearing black hoodies, and a silver Fiat Punto and a white Transit van seen in the area at the time of the attack.

Det Con Katie Halstead said: "This is a horrific incident in which an innocent elderly man has had his livelihood stolen from him during a frightening and violent attack, which has left him incredibly shaken.

"One line of inquiry is that the perpetrators actually booked the locksmith via a third party, which could make this a targeted attack and one that is of an even more sinister nature."

Police are trying to trace the stolen van, which has the registration plate LV13 AXM.