Matt Fountain, founder of Glasgow-based business Freedom Bakery, has been left devastated after a thief stole the company’s van and demanded money for its return.

The culprit stole Fountain’s white transit van last week, which was pivotal to operating the bakery in Glasgow. However, the thief took matters further by ringing the 29-year-old to try and make him pay £500 to return the vehicle.

Fountain set up his business last year in June to specialise in helping criminals learn how to bake to provide them with skills and job prospects. In Scotland, there is a shortfall of well-trained bakers and a large market to share in the food industry. The likelihood of someone trying to get a job when they come out of prison is extremely low.

Speaking to British Baker about the ordeal, Fountain said: “The driver was extremely upset about it. The van was unmarked and was left in a back street with low visibility.”

He added: “We haven’t heard any developments from the police and I think we will probably not be able to get reimbursed.”

He strongly refuted the idea that the incident had links to the nature of how his bakery was operated, and said he was looking to do some fundraising in order to get his business back up and running.

In March, due to growing demand, Freedom Bakery launched a second crowdfunding campaign.