Just to let everyone know, justice has been done! The thief was found, sent to Crown Court by the Magistrates Court and has been sent down for 2.5 years!! I have some friends in high places that helped catch him and the sentence issued is substantial. I am happy(ish) now - the loss of my gear was painful but at least the guy who took it has been deprived of his liberty for a while.
In Massachusetts (USA) things are different. Years ago I would have doubted justice would prevail in our Commonwealth, but times have changed... they are handing out longer and longer suspended sentences!