More than £5,000 of equipment was stolen from a Northamptonshire marquee hire company after a Christmas ‘wonderland’ event in Milton Keynes closed at short notice.
Andrew Darlington, who runs D&D Marquee Hire, has been left out of pocket after the Winter Wonderland at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, was cancelled after only one day last weekend following complaints from visitors.
Mr Darlington claimed that after the event was cancelled, the site was left without security and was targeted by a criminal gang.
He said: “I went there on Sunday afternoon to find a van with a group of strange people helping themselves to my equipment.
“They stole a lot of my stuff and I had to secure the site myself. I had to stay there all night. They stole a lot of cabling, heater units and fire extinguishers.
“I’ve lost about £5,000 of equipment, but it would have been a lot more if I hadn’t turned up.”
Mr Darlington said he was forced to spend the night in the park patrolling with a torch to make sure no more of his equipment was stolen before his colleagues came on Monday to help collect the kit.
A Thames Valley Police spokesman confirmed officers were called to Campbell Park on Sunday following reports of a theft of marquee equipment.
The Winter Wonderland event in Milton Keynes was closed down on its second day after complaints from visitors.
A Facebook page set up for the attraction at Campbell Park was filled with complaints about paid-for events such as ice skating and a Santa’s Grotto.
Parents said the grotto was staffed by “young, thin men” and an ice rink was described as “a few plastic sheets”.
Wonderland organiser, Lorenzo Franco, said 200 people had been refunded.
Mr Franco said he was sorry if anyone was disappointed in any way and said it was the firm’s first event. He added: “I am very sorry to disappoint people. It was not my intention. It was meant to be a family fun event.” Mr Franco said that he had cancelled the event due to the weather and said those who had bought tickets would have their money refunded.