A COTSWOLD gardener whose livelihood hung in the balance after his truck containing £15,000 worth of tools and equipment was stolen, was overjoyed to be reunited with it less than 24 hours later.

Mark Penfold, aged 46, of Broadway, was devastated when his truck was stolen at about 1.45pm on Monday as he was unloading outside a customer’s house just outside Longborough.

He had only turned his back for a matter of minutes when thieves made off with the green Ford Ranger pick-up truck containing tools worth between £10,000-£15,000 as well as his wallet, iPhone and a personal organiser full of contacts.

Mr Penfold, who used to live in Blockley where the majority of his 60 customers are based, feared his livelihood would be at risk following the theft.

But thanks to the power of social media, his van was found dumped in Guiting Power yesterday morning (Wednesday) after his wife Sharon posted alerts on lots of selling websites.

Her messages were shared on Facebook and luckily for the couple, one of the posts was seen by someone who had found it.

“We’re so so relieved,” she said. “To them it’s petty theft but to us it’s our livelihood. Somebody had seen the posts. Lots of friends shared the status and that was how it was found.

“Some stuff hasn’t been recovered. His wallet, his iPhone and about £1,000 worth of machinery. They took tools, the step ladders and other bits and pieces.”

Mrs Penfold said the best thing about it was his contacts book and customers’ keys had been recovered.

“The machinery we could replace, not a problem, but the filofax was irreplaceable,” she added.

“We’ve got to get the locks replaced on the truck and house because they have got the keys but that’s immaterial now. We can move forward. Thanks to those that shared the statuses.”