British Gas worker Richard Moore went to the police when his sat nav was stolen from his van - only to be asked to trawl through CCTV footage himself to gather the evidence.
The West Yorkshire officer told him: “We’re short of resources, you know how it is.” Police have now apologised for the making the request.
Mr Moore’s van was raided outside a customer’s house in Armley, Leeds, on Monday afternoon. A window was smashed with a brick and the TomTom device worth £250 was taken from underneath the driver’s seat.
The incident happened about 25 yards away from a CCTV camera at the gates of a college. Mr Moore, an energy adviser, reported the incident to police and an officer called him back.
He said: “I told him about the security camera and he asked if I could go to the college to try and get them to look through the recording.
“He said if there was any incriminating evidence, I could ring him back.
“I said to him, ‘What, you want me to do your job?’ He replied by saying, ‘We’re short of resources, you know how it is’.”
Mr Moore, 38, of Wakefield, added: “I was shocked that he was asking me to go to the college and ask a total stranger if I could look at footage from their security camera.”
Chief Insp Mick Quirk, of West Yorkshire Police apologised to Mr Moore. He said officers usually asked the owner of the CCTV to check it first.
He added: “In this case it would appear the system in question was not owned by the complainant.
“It would appear therefore that our response fell below the very high standards we set ourselves and we would apologise for this.
“Officers have now spoken with Mr Moore and we are investigating the incident.”