A Fylde coast hotel was left counting the cost after more than £700 of food was stolen by thieves – just as it was due to serve Christmas dinner to guests.
Hotelier Leisha Cox said she had “never known anything like it” after thieves took the items from an outbuilding at Springfields House Hotel (pictured), in Wheel Lane, Pilling, on December 23.
She added: “We could not believe it.
“It was a massive shock for us all when we found out what had happened.
“Whoever’s done it has taken the meat and left all the boxes.
“I do not know how they have done it to be honest. They must have had a vehicle and needed at least two people as the items were so heavy.”
With preparations about to start ahead of Christmas dinner on December 25, hotel chef Paul Farmer discovered three turkey crowns, 20 shoulders of lamb, 40 duck fillets, 35 lamb shanks and three geese had been stolen on Christmas Eve morning.
The thieves also helped themselves to pork, bacon, gammon and cheese, as well as a crate of Peroni lager.
After discovering the food was missing, Mrs Cox was left in a frantic rush to replace the stolen items, or be forced to cancel Christmas dinner for 65 guests.
Mrs Cox added: “We were very lucky. We still managed to serve everyone on Christmas Day.
“I rang the butcher, Andertons, straight away, who provided all the meat we needed.
“I also called Lancastrian Foods, who provided replacement cheese for us.
“Without their help I would have had to cancel Christmas dinner. It was fortunate it never got to that point.”
Police believe the items were taken some time between 3pm and 9pm on December 23.
PC Robert Tugman, of Lancashire Police, said: “If anyone noticed any suspicious activity in the area then we would urge them to contact police
“It is likely the offenders could have tried to sell on the meat in the street, in pubs or from possible from the back of a vehicle.
“Members of the public being offered such items for sale are urged to contact police on 101 with as much information as possible.”
Anybody with any information can contact police on 101.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or go online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.