A stolen rare Ferrari is heading back to its grateful owner in Northampton after an alert mechanic tipped off police with the help of a two-year old story in the Chronicle & Echo.

But detectives were called in when the distinctive blue Ferrari 365 turned up at a Daventry vehicle workshop yesterday (Tuesday) with a request — understood to be from someone who may have unwittingly bought the car — for a quote to carry out some restoration work.

The workshop tracked down owner Phil Copson after finding on some paperwork and a Google search turned up a 2018 Chron interview about a dangerous road junction.

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Police were called to recover the £50,000 Italian beauty and launched an urgent investigation to find out how the vehicle wound up across the county.

Phil had offered a reward and launched a world-wide search after discovering the beloved 1973 model had gone missing.

The retired salesman, said: “I’d contacted the Ferrari Owners Club and specialist spare part dealers to get them looking out for the vehicle all over the world.

“I was expecting that it might have been taken abroad or broken up for spares — but then I got a call from this garage in Daventry saying it had been taken there and they were quite suspicious.”

Ferrari owner Phil Copson at the “dangerous” Cock Hotel junction in 2018

Phil believes cheeky thieves called in a breakdown service to his Ferrari by pretending to have lost the keys!

He said: “A front quarter-light was broken and the steering-lock was removed but the thieves don’t appear to have got it running.

“But they left paperwork in the car with the real owner’s name on it and when the people at Daventry searched the internet they tracked me down with the help of an interview about the dangerous Cock Hotel junction I did with the Chron two years ago.

“The car is a very rare 1973 Ferrari 365 GT4 / 2+2 — one of only 121 made with right-hand drive ever made.

The Italian classic turned up at a Daventry workshop on Tuesday with a request for restoration work

“I’ve had it since 2008 and it was bought with money I inherited when my parents died, so the sentimental value is even greater than whatever it might cost — even though it did once result in a trip to hospital when two tons of Maranello metal fell on me while working on the transmission.”

“It had been locked in a garage. It’s all in good condition, I just hadn’t taken it out much because it costs quite a lot of money to put petrol in a Ferrari.

“I don’t know if the thief knew it was in there or just got a surprise when they broke into the garage.

“I’d offered a reward for anyone helping to find it and even now I’m very keen to find out who took it and where’s it’s been, so if anyone does know something please call the police.”

Phil Copson’s distinctive 1973 Ferrari was stolen from a lock-up in Kingsthorpe

Detectives say the car could have been taken anytime in a two-week period up to July 12 and are appealing for anybody who might have seen it parked or on the road.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: “We would like to hear from anybody who saw anything suspicious in the Bondfield Avenue area during the two weeks up to July 12, or may have seen or have dashcam footage of this distinctive vehicle being stored somewhere or driven around.

“If anyone has information that could help us, please call 101 using reference number 2000356225 or, alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

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