THREE down, 297 to go. But the hunt for 300 supermarket trolleys that disappeared in little over a week from a Southampton Asda store is still going strong.

Asda managers have been left scratching their heads over the vast number of carts that vanished mysteriously at the Portland Terrace store in just ten days this month.

With carts worth more than £40,000 missing, we are still appealing to sharp-eyed readers to help track them down.

So far, three missing trolleys have been spotted and reported by readers - one in a residential car park in Millbrook Road East and two in the Kingsland area near the city centre.

Availability manager for the store Steve Mehers is grateful for the continuing support. He said: "It seems strange that so many have gone and only one or two have turned up - they aren't anywhere to be found in the city.

"But we are very grateful for the support we are getting from Echo readers in trying to track them down.

"Hopefully the search will continue to prove successful and we can get as many back as possible."

There was a further twist in the tale yesterday as one eagle-eyed Echo reader thought he spotted the green-handled trolleys being taken to a scrap metal yard in East Wellow on a large flat-bed lorry.

But it transpired that these were Safeway trolleys with similar coloured handles being legitimately cleared from a store in the city.

A spokesman from the scrap metal yard said: "After reading the article in the Echo we thought we might have a few people phoning up to see if the trolleys were the ones being searched high and low for - but they are not, unfortunately.

"But we will keep an eye out and we support the Echo in its search."

Although supermarkets are likely to lose a few trolleys, the huge loss from the Asda store in Portland Terrace has surprised other store managers in the city.

Enda Costello, store manager of Sainsbury's in Shirley, said they have never had hundreds taken all in one go: "We have a system whereby the trolleys are locked into the store at night.

"This limits the amount taken to just a few during the daytime - but 300 in ten days is really something."

As the search continues, Southampton police are urging people to come forward with information on the trolleys' whereabouts.

A police spokesman said: "Any incidents involving the taking of other people's property, including trolleys, is a serious criminal offence and we take reported thefts very seriously."

Anyone who has any further information should contact the police on 0845 045 4545. Alternatively, if you know the whereabouts of any other Asda trolleys, contact the Daily Echo newsdesk on 023 8042 4500