CHRISTMAS got off to an unfortunate start for a metal detecting enthusiast, when thieves stole specialist equipment worth more than £1,000 from their car.

Police said the incident happened overnight on Saturday (December 21) in the College ward of Darlington.

Among the items stolen was a Bounty Hunter Tracker metal detector and a Minelab Explorer detector worth a combined £310.

About 25 items were taken in total, including headphones, battery packs, a metal detector carry pouch, waterproof jackets and trousers and a stainless steel trowel.

A camera, binoculars, gloves, hat and first aid kit were also stolen.

PC John Forster, who is investigating the incident, said: “The owner is obviously an enthusiast who has basically been cleaned out of all the items he’s collected and cherished for years.

“If anyone notices anything for sale or hears of anyone coming by something similar that sounds a bit suspicious please phone it into us.”

Witnesses are asked to call 101, quoting incident number DHM-22122013-0118