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Thieves get away with about £17,000 worth of goods from Soho Coffee

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

  • stolen: The Soho Coffee van, and, above right, owner Penny Manuel

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ABOUT £17,000 worth of goods have been stolen from a Cheltenham business.

Owners of Soho Coffee, which employees nearly 100 people, have been left shocked after thieves took stock and a £15,000 van from their base.

Police are investigating the break-in at Ashville Trading Estate in The Runnings that saw burglars steal the van keys, load it up with around £2,000 of goods and drive away.

Director Penny Manuel, who bought the business six years ago, said: "It has had a terrible effect on the business and a major impact.

"It has been quite a shock as I think when you are a small business like us you take it quite personally.

"It is a difficult trading environment at the moment for everyone and this is always the last thing a business needs.

"We have had to rent a new refrigerated van to get all our deliveries out.

"We have lost an awful lot of stock including branded coffee, crisps, bottles of syrup, meats and cheese, but fortunately all out suppliers have bent over backwards to get new stock to us and that is the beauty of working with local people. Everything that was stolen was the higher value goods and we won't know the full cost of it until we've finished the stock check, but we think the goods will come to around £2,000.

"The refrigerated van is worth around £15,000 and we're hoping we will be able to track it down as it has our logo, website and telephone number on it.

"We've just spent the last few days improving security at the warehouse, driving around trying to spot the van. This time of year is really busy for our business."

The Cheltenham unit has a new kitchen and acts as storage area for the independent chain's outlets, including cafes in the town's Cambray Place and the Regent Arcade.

The £15,000 white transit Ford is one of four the company uses to deliver goods to other outlets from Manchester to Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham. Four Acer computers and a Sony Vaio laptop were also stolen.

Penny, 49, and her family bought the 10-year-old business with Chris Copner, also from Cheltenham, six years ago.

She is offering a £500 reward to anyone who gives them any information that leads to the company getting the van back in one piece.

The break-in took place between 7pm and 8pm on Wednesday, October 31. Anyone with information can contact police on 101 quoting incident number 68 of November 1.

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  • Douglasknows  |  November 08 2012, 10:48AM

    I expect the burned out van will be found soon, we can only hope that the burns unit have an additional patient too.

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  • cheltenham20  |  November 08 2012, 9:46AM

    ''"We've just spent the last few days improving security at the warehouse'' You have obviously left the key somewhere close for it to be found so easily... suggest you have a simple little switch fitted '''cost'' about £10 , only the driver will know where it is, so if the keys get stolen no way will they get the vehicle to start,,, Now get cracking on your other vans. Methinks the insurance may have something to say regards the storage of the keys to this vehicle... Happy xmas , its not the end of the world...

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