Hotel Chocolat boss offers five years free chocolate in return for help recovering stolen ice cream van

Joe Gamp
·Contributor, Yahoo News UK

The founder and boss of Hotel Chocolat has compared the theft of the chocolatier company’s custom-made ice cream van to “like losing a limb”.

Chief executive Angus Thirlwell revealed the van - dubbed the "Chocmobile" - was taken from the company’s secure car park at its head office in Royston, Hertfordshire, on Tuesday.

The chocmobile was stolen from the Hotel Chocolat's head office overnight on Tuesday (HOTEL CHOCOLAT)

But the company is now offering a tasty reward - free chocolate for five years and a tour of the company’s “Inventing Room” - for information leading to the vehicle's return.

A Hotel Chocolat shop in Victoria, London as the company's initial public offering has valued the firm at £167 million and netted the company's founders more than £20 million.
The company is offering five years of free chocolate for information leading to the return of the stolen Chocmobile (GETTY)

Mr Thirwell 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.

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“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.”

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 custom-made van travels the length of the country selling and handing out Hotel Chocolat products.

A tray of chocolate as guests attend a preview of the Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Tasting Experience in a capsule of the London Eye, which opens this Easter from April 4.
The van was also stocked full of products ready for sale (GETTY)

The Chocmobile, which appeared in a recent television documentary, serves coffee, brownies, chocolates, truffles and ice cream at events.

It was stocked with chocolates meant for sale at the time of the theft.

Hertfordshire Police said in a statement: "CCTV spotted offenders who smashed a window and gained entry to the vehicle behind the back of Mint House before stealing it.

"Three males were spotted at the scene of the crime. If you have any information that could help with our investigation please dial 101, quoting 41/69223/19."

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