Thieves stole a tonne of rib eye steaks, worth £16,500 from a Daventry industrial estate.
At around 7pm on Saturday the padlock on the gate of Faraday Fine Foods, in Faraday Close, was removed. The burglars then forced their way into the building and loaded up the meat into a van.
Director and founder of Faraday Fine Foods David Baker said: “The meat would have cost £60,500 at wholesale costs.
“We are insured thankfully, but that’s not the point. Whoever did this doesn’t know that and they could have been putting the jobs of nine butchers and three office staff under threat.
“As it is we’re going to face higher premiums and I’m going to have to spend money on improving security.
“We’re a small firm and we’ll have been here two years in February.
“We’re like a family and the butchers have said to me it’s not like someone’s stolen from the company, they feel they’ve stolen from everyone who works here.”
The family has three farms in the Daventry area and the meat from Faraday Fine Foods is branded as locally produced Northamptonshire beef, and has even found its way onto Cunard cruise ships.
The rib eye was in 2.8kg (6lb) pieces, with 1,025kg (2,260lb) being taken. This means the burglars loaded up around 366 pieces of meat.
Mr Baker said: “They were in and out within 12 minutes. The quantity they took would have filled the white van they were using.
“The thing is the butcher trade is quite a close-knit one. People will be looking out for this meat.
“How a normal person will get rid of this amount of meat I don’t know. The other option is that it’s a catering firm, but then this meat is now untraceable without documentation.”
Detective Constable David Bastuba said: “We would be interested to speak with anyone who noticed anything unusual or suspicious at the time and anyone who is offered large quantities of cheap beef.”
Witnesses or anyone with information, should call police on 101 or talk anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.