£10,000 worth of equipment belonging to Valentine Equipment has been recovered after it was spotted for sale on eBay.
The equipment is believed to have gone missing at the end of Hotelympia, but Valentine only realised the morning after when the freight forwarder delivered six pallets instead of the seven it was expecting.
CCTV viewed at the time proved inconclusive, leaving Valentine fearing that it would need to write the equipment off and process an insurance claim.
However, the story took a new twist last week when the consignment, which included a number of tabletop fryers, an Evo 250 pump filtration fryer and five VBox hot cupboards, was found to be for sale on auction site eBay.
Bob Witherall, managing director of Valentine Equipment, said that after tracking down the seller of the goods, it emerged he had paid £3,500 for the kit unaware that it had been stolen.
Witherall said all of the equipment was now back in Valentine’s hands after it was recovered earlier this week.
“The buyer was very good and very helpful once he realised the situation,” said Witherall. “He even bought back one of the items he had sold. I don’t think he will be buying off the back of that particular lorry again! The police have stated that as so many people had handled the equipment they wouldn’t be using it for any forensics.”
Witherall said the incident had made him aware of just how easy equipment can go missing during the hectic breakdown period of a show.
“It would appear that someone at the ExCeL exhibition is using a freight company that isn’t too honest with what they collect,” he said. “It’s so easy on breakdown to load something onto a lorry and if they are caught just say, ‘sorry mate, my mistake’, which would be believed in the situation.” The moral of the story is don’t leave your stand unattended at any time during build-up or breakdown.”