Thousands of cricket shoes were stolen from the back of a lorry near Leeds in the early hours of Friday morning.
The shoes belonging to Leeds-based Payntr were being delivered on a container from China when thieves broke into the trailer of the parked lorry on Gelderd Road in Birstall between 1am and 2am.
David Paynter, founder of the business, told The Yorkshire Post that roughly 4,000 out of 6,700 pairs of shoes on the lorry were taken. The total value of the shoes taken was estimated to be £387,000.
However, West Yorkshire Police have recovered a stolen curtain sided lorry, with a large number of the stolen shoes inside, from Bradford.
Mr Paynter, who lives in Brighouse, says the theft has caused the business a great deal of “inconvenience” as it looks to fulfil orders.
He said: “We’ve got a lot of sorting out to do because a lot of these shoes were pre-sold into retailers. We’re obviously going to have to look at each individual order and make sure we can fulfil it.”
Some orders are likely to be delayed, he added, as the firm counts up how many of the stolen shoes have been recovered.
Mr Paynter is the great grandson of Ashes winner cricketer Eddie Paynter and is a former professional himself. He founded the business in 2017.
He said: “It just wakes you up to what can go on. Up to this day we’ve been quite lucky that nothing like this has happened to us.
“It’s the first time this has ever happened. We sure don’t want it to happen again.”
Police said enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information about the theft or anyone offered boxes of the shoes in suspicious circumstances is being asked to contact Kirklees District Police on 101 referencing the crime number 13190005479.
Last year, former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan became a shareholder in the Payntr business. He praised Mr Paynter for coming up with the new style of cricket shoe.
“A cricketer understands the game,” Mr Vaughan said. “Understands what goes through a cricketer’s body. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a batsman, bowler, spin bowler or fielder. He understands what’s required.”