A PEPPA Pig costume which was stolen from a fancy dress shop was tracked down by the owner – to an online auction site.
The bright pink children’s television character is one of the most popular costumes at the Pink Party Shop in Waterlooville.
So owner Lana Baynton was devastated when the woman who hired the £200 costume in March did not bring it back.
All the contact details and credit card details she had left were false.
But, still missing the enormous pink costume and with potential loss of earnings at more than £300, Lana decided to check the online auction site eBay.
And, sure enough, there it was.
She had bought it innocently for her son’s fundraisier and the boy was apparently really upset when the police went round to get it. He was distraughtLana Baynton
She says: ‘We were very busy around the time it was stolen and it wasn’t until a week later we realised it hadn’t been brought back.
‘We tried calling the lady but the number she’d left was nonexistent.
‘We tried to take the security deposit from her card details and that was declined.
‘I was very upset because it was the first costume I’d bought when I took over the shop from my parents and it makes so many children happy.
‘One evening I was thinking about it, wondering what on earth someone would do with a costume like that.
‘I put the details into eBay and I recognised it straight away. I wasn’t sure what to do but my friends urged me to go to the police and they started an investigation.’
Lana was in for a shock. Police traced the costume to a mum who had bought it in good faith and had been using it at fundraisers for her disabled son.
The costume was returned a bit the worse for wear but otherwise in one piece.
She said: ‘The police got the details of the seller from eBay and it came from the site Buy and Sell Portsmouth.
‘The lady had evidence on her phone to show the thief was trying to sell the costume even before she had stolen it from here.
‘She had bought it innocently for her son’s fundraiser and the boy was apparently really upset when the police went round to get it. He was distraught.’
The police are not legally allowed to give out the mother’s details to Lana so now she is appealing to trace her.
‘We would really like to find this lady and offer her the use of Peppa for her next fundraising day and give her son a Peppa balloon.’
If you can help Lana, call the Pink Party Shop on (023) 9224 0058.