POLICE have launched an investigation into the theft of a memorial plaque in York - as a Pokemon Go player came forward to help pinpoint when it went missing.

The Press reported yesterday how the family of Richard Horrocks was distraught at the disappearance of the plaque from a balcony over the River Ouse, exactly five years after the 21-year-old bar tender drowned after jumping in at the end of his last shift.

Now his mother Vicki has contacted North Yorkshire Police to report it as a theft.

York Press:

Abbi Horrocks at the site of her brother's missing memorial plaque

A spokesman for the force said: “This very distressing theft was reported to us this morning, and an investigation is underway.”

Mrs Horrocks said yesterday she had no idea when the plaque went missing, having only become aware it had gone when her daughter Abbi went along on the fifth anniversary of Richard’s death on Sunday to lay flowers.

But now a Kay Garbett has contacted The Press to say she knew with certainty that it was there last Tuesday, as she was playing Pokemon Go that day and captured a picture showing a Pokemon across the river above his plaque.

Pokemon Go is the game in which people travel around the real world using their mobile phones to capture and train the creatures known as Pokemon.

Kay said: “I am pretty certain it was there on Saturday afternoon but cannot 100 per cent remember if I visited that pokestop that day as I was unwell and it’s all a bit of a blur, But I was in the area and likely that I did, and I would have noticed if it was gone.”

She said she hoped her information would help to narrow down the time frame in which it might have been taken.

Richard was the third person to die in York’s rivers in a few months and his death triggered The Press’s Think Don’t Swim’ campaign, which aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of falling or jumping into the Ouse and the Foss. The plaque carried the campaign logo.

Anyone else with information about the plaque is asked to email mike.laycock@thepress.co.uk, or call 01904 567132.