Hastings builder Cody Knox is reeling after thieves stole his car and the tools inside it, leaving him without even a hammer for his first week on the job.

After three gruelling years as an apprentice the 18-year-old had finally secured his first job but woke up to find his four-wheel-drive Nissan Terrano gone.

"I was shocked," he said.

"I thought my building career had just ended because I couldn't go to work."


When he reported the theft to police he was told he could have just recorded the crime online.

Within 24 hours a friend of Mr Knox's was ahead of the police and tracked down the car.

It had popped up on a Facebook page, reported as stolen, and was being driven around in Matamata.

Mr Knox's mother, Jen Bailey, said the police were either having a really bad day or they were so overworked they could not keep up with the workload.

She said she had expected to hear from them before her son's friend about the car's whereabouts.

Matamata police, who eventually got the vehicle, were unable to tell Mr Knox whether the $10,000 worth of tools were still in the vehicle.

He and his mother made the 3-hour drive north to see for themselves.

Ms Bailey said she was a solo mother and she and her children had worked hard for everything they had.

Making the 291km drive cost her a full day off work, her son was left without tools, his car had been damaged and he was also left with more then 1000km of road-user charges.

"My son worked so hard to get those tools together," she said.

"He said to me, 'Mum, I don't even have a hammer to take to work'."

Mr Knox's timesheets had also been left in the car which meant he now would not get paid.

Police had also found the builder's licence and bank cards in Tokoroa, a 40-minute drive from where the car was found.

It was a painstaking, slow drive back to Hawke's Bay from Matamata with his mother following close behind, as the car had been damaged.

The car was covered in mud. Mr Knox said he had already had to spend about $700 to bring it back up to scratch and one week after the theft he was still finding drug paraphernalia under seats and in obscure places.

He said he was "pretty gutted" and felt let down by the police when a friend spotted his car first.

"I still have no idea what has happened to the tools."

Ms Bailey said she was angry the police had their resources cut so much: "As a taxpayer I think the police should be able to keep the community safe."

Police confirmed the car was reported stolen from Pakowhai Rd in Hastings on July 1 and they were told it contained valuable goods.

On the same day, following a short pursuit, the vehicle was stopped by Matamata police. It was detained for forensic examination but there was no sign of the tools.

Police said they encouraged people to come into police stations and speak face-to-face with officers when giving their complaints.

- One person has been charged with failing to stop for a police officer and for receiving stolen property. He is due to appear in Morrinsville District Court in August.


* Police have issued a reminder to Hawke's Bay residents not to leave valuables in cars.

* Tradies should park vehicles around the back of the property or keep them in the garage, if possible.

* Tools should be kept out of sight in vehicles and car alarms or immobilisers are a good idea.

* Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police straight away.