The show must go on! Harold Wood theatre troupe track down stolen equipment on eBay

A quick-thinking church theatre troupe turned modern-day Sherlock Holmes after brazenly tracking down �3,000 worth of stolen equipment – through eBay.

When the Guildonian Players discovered thieves had stolen their lighting and sound desks from the Harold Wood Methodist Church hall, in The Drive, last month, they decided to take the law into their own hands after tracking down the vital equipment on eBay.

Eagle-eyed lighting technician Nigel Cook spotted the desks online - still bearing the distinctive stickers he had placed on the switches – and hot-footed it to the Basildon pawn shop which was trying to sell them.

With just weeks to go until their play was due to hit the stage, four of the determined performers, including Nigel Cook, Peter Farenden, Tom Hind and Sue Faulkner, and a Romford police officer, confronted the shop owner and quickly identified the stolen goods.

In a performance worthy of a ‘whodunit’ cliffhanger, technician Nigel asked the salesman to remove the lighting desk lid, telling him it would have ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ written in pen on the underside.

The salesman turned over the lid…to reveal the writing! The desk, which was worth around �1,000, was confiscated by the police officer and returned to the theatre group last Wednesday September 28.

But the sound desk, worth around �2,000, had already been sold the previous day for a mere �500.

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A Havering police spokesman said: “We’re very grateful for the assistance the victims have given us.

“We are now urgently pursuing all lines of inquiries.”

The show will still go on with cast member Tom Hind offering to lend his personal sound desk to the show.

Fellow actor Chrissie O’Connor, from Gidea Park, said: “How would you feel if you were looking on eBay to replace items that were stolen a few days before and you saw your own goods? Cross? Upset? Try motivated.”

She added: “When the salesman turned over the lid…that clinched it.

“Sadly we missed the sound gear by a whisker. But the show will go on. We are a determined bunch.”

The play, Relative Values, will be held at the Little Theatre in The Drive, Harold Wood, from next Friday October 12 to Tuesday October 16. To book, call: 01708 782118.