PART of a wartime rocket has been returned to its island home a year after it was stolen.

The rear of the German V2 rocket is back at Canvey’s Dutch Cottage after being tracked down by the man who first uncovered the debris.

The V2, which came down on Canvey in 1944, was found by history enthusiast Gary Foulger in 1994, but it was stolen when thieves vandalised the 17th-century cottage in June last year.

But Mr Foulger didn’t give up on his original discovery and was able to track down the rocket in Battlesbridge and used photos from the Echo’s archive to convince police it was the stolen V2.

He said: “The guy who bought it believed it was all above board and was unaware.

“It went to Kent a year ago, then back to Essex. I used pictures printed in the Echo for identifying them. If it hadn’t been for the Echo, I wouldn’t have been able to prove the ID of it.”

The back part of the rocket, which measures three feet by two feet, has now been recovered, but the two turbine pumps from the back are still missing.

The rocket was launched from Holland by the Germans on New Year’s Eve, 1944.

It came down on Canvey Way after breaking up in the air.

Mr Foulger added: “The idea of it being in the Dutch Cottage was to preserve the memory and recognition of those who were lost in the war.

“I was just so relieved. It gives you a bit of hope to know, if you lose stuff, it can crop up. The police were brilliant with me.”

A spokeswoman from Essex Police said: “Police are working to establish if the item identified by this man is the one which was stolen.”