Matt Heap turned detective when his studio was burgled for the second time in a couple of weeks and thieves stole guitars and amplifiers.
He put out a call on Facebook and soon had more than 400 shares as people in Lancashire and Yorkshire helped him search for the missing loot.
One helpful informant gave useful information and set Matt on the trail to a house in Leeds, where he went with police officers and recovered his property. Now he’s looking for new premises in or near his home town of Colne after moving his business, Suff Studio, out of the burgled industrial unit in Keighley.
Matt Heap, 27, a former pupil of Park High School at Colne, first set up his studio at Sough, Earby, and called it Suff Studio because that’s how Sough is pronounced.
From there, he moved to Black Carr Mill at Trawden, then last April moved into a business unit in South Street, Keighley. He set up a recording studio and equipped it with a control room and instruments.
He had been building up the business when thieves struck for the first time early in January, stealing Orange amplifiers, a mandolin and a violin. He had to stand the loss because he had been looking for a cheaper insurance quotation and his current insurance expired before he switched.
He fitted extra padlocks to the door and took out fresh insurance, but thieves just smashed through the panel wall. This time they took Marshall amplifiers, a cherished 1970s Fender Stratocaster electric guitar and a Fender jazz bass.
“It was a real sickener and it happened just a few days after I’d taken out new insurance, so it must have looked dodgy to the insurance company,” Matt said.
“I made a Facebook page and got 400 shares from all over the country. I got an anonymous tip from someone who said he knew who the thief was and didn’t like what he’d done.
“People were looking out on buy and sell sites, and it turned out the thief had sold it to someone in Leeds. I told police I was going to go to the house and they went with me. The guy said he didn’t know it was stolen and he’d bought it in good faith.
“I got all my gear back but I’d had enough of my place in Keighley. It’s all piled up at my house now until I find a new place.”
Wellwishers have donated a total of £1,000 on a Go Funding page to help Matt get up and running again.
He said: “I’d really like to thank everyone who helped to look for the stolen gear, and all the people who have given money to help me get started.
“The problem with a recording studio is that you can’t set one up just anywhere because of the noise. I’m looking for an industrial unit, and ideally it will be back in Colne.”