Chocs away: police on trail of thieves who stole Hotel Chocolat’s ice cream 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 has been stolen
Hotel Chocolat's Chocmobile was stolen on Tuesday night (Hotel Chocolat / PA)

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."

Mr Thirlwell added: "We've got CCTV and they bought 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.

Herfordshire 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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