A shocked owner discovered his car had been used in an attempted theft when officers arrived to question him.

Martyn Prince, chairman of Halstead’s Empire Theatre Trust, had parked his Mitsubishi Shogun in Broton Drive, Halstead, to drop his wife off for a quiz at Halstead Town Football Club.

He met a friend and went to a wedding in Kelvedon but returned to discover his car had been stolen.

He said: “The police came round and said my car had been involved in an incident.

“I had been at a wedding in Kelvedon and they said where had I been, I think they thought it was me.

“I said ‘I don’t think you would go round robbing in a shirt and dicky bow’ and they realised it wasn’t me.”

Speaking about the theft he said: “This is the third time I have been a victim of crime through no fault of my own but it is always me that has to pick up the pieces and pay for the repairs.”

Mr Prince, 56, of Bourchier Way, Halstead, had bought the car in March but it had mostly been in the garage since then having work and a new engine fitted.

The thieves had smashed a window on the driver’s side of the car and broken the steering lock.

It had been impounded by the police for forensics checks but Mr Prince had to pay for £150 for it to be released.

He said: “I feel that I am the victim and the police aren’t at all helpful and it is just another crime to them.”

An Essex Police spokesman said that Mr Prince should be able to claim the £150 on insurance and that the policy is a nationwide one set by the Association of Chief Police Officers.