Safe fished out of Rochdale canal reunited with owner a decade after being stolen in armed robbery

Date published: 18 February 2019

A safe stolen in an armed robbery in Whitworth over 10 years ago has recently been recovered in Rochdale canal by a local magnet fisher.

Scott Bryant from Castleton took up the hobby of magnet fishing in late 2018, after his step-son introduced him to the activity.

Mr Bryant said: “My wife ordered me a magnet and rope as a Christmas present, after I got into magnet fishing late last year. So, in January I got out and about with it, mostly solo, but sometimes with family.

“I’d only been magnet fishing twice before I found the safe on the stretch of the canal in Castleton, Manchester Road side.

“The safe was open and the door was loose inside the safe, which trapped the contents from being released into the canal, but they were still covered in debris.

The items were covered in canal debris when they were found in the safe
The items were covered in debris when they were found in the safe

“I took everything home so I could wash the items and found the safe had an expired driving licence for a Robert Teare inside, along with three watches, a necklace and a bracelet with the name ‘Robert’ engraved on the back."

He continued: “Myself and my wife ran the name through Facebook and matched the name and the picture on the license to a profile picture.

“I contacted Robert and without me giving away too much information, he said he had been the victim of an armed robbery and the safe had been stolen some 10 years back. He thought he would never see the items again, which were very sentimental as they were left to him after his father passed away.

The items recovered from the canal, including the necklace engraved with 'Robert'
The items recovered from the canal, including the bracelet engraved with 'Robert'

“I arranged a time and place and reunited the items with him, to which he was overwhelmed.”

Robert Teare, who was living in Whitworth when the safe was taken, said: “It was taken about 11 or 12 years ago when I was living at the flats on Grange Road, Facit.

“There was a knock at the door, and I thought it was my brother, so I opened it, but it was three guys with balaclavas on. One stayed at the front door whilst the other two came in and threatened us with tasers.

“We had a premature baby son at the time who was born at 28 weeks, so we didn’t need all that on top of the stress we already had.

“I didn’t have a bank account at the time either, so I had a couple of thousand pounds in the safe.

“The safe had so much sentimental value to me as my dad left it to me after he died, and it had items in it that were given to me by my dad. I tried to find a replica after it was taken as a keepsake, but it wasn't the same.

“I’m absolutely made up. I lost hope of ever seeing the items inside it again a long time ago.

”It just shows how nice some people can be. I’m really glad Scott made the effort to find me.”

Door of the safe stolen from Grange Road, Whitworth over a decade ago
The door of the safe stolen from Grange Road, Whitworth over a decade ago


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