Hotel Chocolat offering free treats for help tracking down its stolen van

The founder and boss of Hotel Chocolat has described the theft of the chocolate maker’s ice cream van as “like losing a limb”. Chief executive Angus Thirlwell revealed the Chocmobile was taken from the company’s secure car park at its head office in Royston, Hertfordshire, on Tuesday. He is now offering free chocolate for five years and a tour of the company’s “Inventing Room” for information leading to its return.

The Chocmobile was taken from the company’s secure car park at its head office in Royston, Hertfordshire

He said: “I hope they’re resting somewhere in a lay-by, having overdosed on hot chocolate from the van and are sleeping it off.

“It was was all booked to go to the BBC Countryfile event and it literally disappeared overnight. “There is a tracker on it. But it’s not as good as you’d expect it to be.

“We can see broadly it’s on the move and the North Herts constabulary are in charge of getting it back for us. We’ve alerted our customers to be on the lookout for it.”

Hotel Chocolat offering free treats for help tracking down its stolen vanFrame from video issued by Hotel Chocolat showing thieves using a flat bed truck to steal an ice cream van

Caught on camera

Mr Thirlwell added: “We’ve got CCTV and they brought a flatbed trailer to specially steal it. It took about an hour moving it on.”

The van was custom-made and travelled the country selling and handing out Hotel Chocolat products.

Hertfordshire Police confirmed the force was investigating the theft.

A spokesman said CCTV showed three males smashing a window to gain entry to the vehicle before stealing it.

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