Leeds man's stolen laptop riddle

Police do not know the location of a stolen laptop – despite the burglary victim telling them where it is.

Lee Cadman, 26, had 35,000 worth of goods – including a 20,000 car, photography equipment and his computer – stolen from his south Leeds home in mid November as he and his fiancee slept.

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But the computer whizz – who works as a network designer – had installed hi-tech tracking equipment in his laptop and he was able to pinpoint it to Middleton within a radius of just 200 metres.

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In the past few weeks he has found himself turning detective – remotely tracking its progress to its most recent location in Harrogate, informing police every time it moved to a different address. But it – and the thieves – have still not been traced.

The laptop's tracking software allows a person to get regular updates via the Internet about its current location.

It give the spot in the form of a unique reference number, which can, in turn, be traced to the internet service provider with whose network it is being used.

Mr Cadman gave his information to the police, which contacted Virgin Media, the owner of the unique code. After a month-long investigation, the company was unable to find the address and police are "continuing enquiries" seven weeks later.

The laptop has, in the meantime, moved across the county,

Mr Cadman has now hit out at privacy and data protection rules which he believes have hindered the investigation.

"I gave three addresses to the police and have now provided a fourth address. It's moved from Middleton to the city centre to Harrogate," he explained.

"My laptop had software installed on it which sent out a "hello" – telling me where about it is in the world.

"I contacted the police about this as the equipment was online, at a location in Middleton! I phoned Virgin Media but they would not speak to the police, the police had to contact them.

"Due to privacy of information they couldn't give me, nor the police liaison officer or CID, the info.

"So, CID had to request a form through the Home Office – to be told it's a 30 day turnaround!

"As far as I am concerned, they left their rights to privacy at the door when they broke into my house, stole 15,000 of equipment and took off in my beloved 20,000 car.

Detective Inspector Jim Dunkerley, of City and Holbeck CID, said: "We sympathise with Mr Cadman and we have been regularly in contact with Mr Cadman over the Christmas period."

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: "As a responsible ISP, in order to protect the privacy and security of our customers, we adhere to regulations such as the Data Protection Act and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in order to ensure lawful compliance in managing customer data."