Sheffield food institution John’s Van – a catering truck popular with hungry students and workers for years – has been stolen by suspected metal thieves.
The mobile unit was taken from Hounsfield Road in the city centre at 6.30am yesterday with CCTV images showing a transit van towing it away.
An appeal from owner Jeremy Woolley on Twitter sparked a social media campaign to find the trailer.
Jeremy said: “I parked the van up at about 6.25am yesterday morning, went to get some milk and when I came back 15 minutes later it was gone.
“The police have got CCTV of a Transit van towing it away at 6.30am. It was a massive shock.
“It was my dad’s before mine for over 30 years, we are quite an institution with the students – they love it.”
John’s Van stands near The University of Sheffield’s students’ union each day.
It was first launched by Jeremy’s dad John in 1981 to fill the gap left by a nearby closed shop.
Jeremy, who took over in 2006, is now trying to find a replacement trailer before freshers’ week.
The 38-year-old appealed for anyone who spotted the van to call police – and is offering a £1,000 reward for information leading to its return.
He said: “I’m not hopeful of getting it back, I think it has been locked away. If it comes up for sale I will recognise it because I had it custom made so I know every nook and cranny.”
The trailer is stainless steel, about 10ft long and has the words John’s Van in black letters written on it.
Police have conducted searches and circulated a description of the van.
A spokesman added: “CCTV footage showed a white transit van reversing up the road then reappearing towing the sandwich trailer at around 6.30am.”
Call police on 101 quoting incident number 122 of September 11.