A THIEF pointlessly stole a piece of specialised helicopter equipment worth £5,000.
The hook, including a piece of steel cable, was dropped by a helicopter on Marsden Moor at 2.45pm on Monday as it was ferrying around large bags used to carry heather.
But a man in a pale blue car in the Carriage House pub car park was seen to run on to the moor, grab the hook and flee with it.
The helicopter company, Saddleworth-based Pennine Helicopters, cannot understand why anyone would want the hook and have appealed for it to be returned.
If anyone finds the hook or lets them know where it is, they will get a free ride in the helicopter.
Operations manager Julia Ruddy said: "The hook was specially made for our helicopter and is protected by a small aluminium cage.
"It has a serial number which means it is registered only to our helicopter so it cannot be used on any other aircraft and is useless to the thief.
"Once he realised that was the case, he might have dumped it. Someone may have found it and not know what it is!"
Pennine Helicopters work with the National Trust in Marsden, ferrying heather on to the moor for regeneration schemes. It was lifting empty bags used to transport heather when the hook was stolen.
Mrs Ruddy said: "The hook was dropped close to Manchester Road and left for just three minutes while the pilot went back to pick the ground crew up."
Anyone with information should ring Pennine Helicopters on 01457 820152.