The pale blue Ford Anglia – which had been a replica of the Weasleys’ car from the Harry Potter films – was stolen from a Walmer garage by 37-year-old Richard Matthews in October 2019. However a media appeal and investigation using CCTV stills led to his identification and subsequent arrest.
Shortly before midday on Thursday 17 October 2019, Matthews arrived in Walmer on a train and walked to the garages in Station Drive, where he stole and drove away in the distinctive car.
But he was seen that day by members of the public, who later came forward following an appeal made by Kent Police in the press, to report they had seen a man with a scruffy appearance acting suspiciously at the time of the burglary. Further enquiries led to the recovery of CCTV footage in the area and Matthews was then identified as the suspect by local officers and members of the public.
He was arrested in November 2019 and charged with burglary.
Appearing at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 26 March 2021, Matthews, formerly of Ingoldsby Road, Folkestone, admitted the offence and was sentenced on the same day to 22 months in prison.
Investigating officer PC Katie Clarke, from the Dover Victim Based Crime Team, said: ‘Like all burglars, Matthews showed little respect for other people’s property, taking what didn’t belong to him, for his own selfish reasons.
‘Since his arrest, Matthews has not been willing to say where the car is, which is so disappointing for the victim, who put a lot of time into restoring and customising the vehicle. I would hope Matthews develops a sense of decency regarding the loss and considers the impact of his actions.
‘I wish to thank everyone who came forward with information to help identify and bring this thief before the courts.’