The Christmas Day dinners of around 400 people were put at risk when crooks raided a farm shop just days before the 25th.
Martin Towler discovered his Thurleigh farm shop had been ransacked overnight when he arrived there early on Monday, December 21.
“The doors were open, water was flowing across the floor where they had tried to steal the coffee machine, the fridges were empty,” he said.
“They stole sausages, pork pies, cheeses, bacon, pigs in blanket that we had been making for several days and every cut of meat we had prepared for people.
“We were dealing with 300 to 400 people’s Christmas dinners.
“Three days before Christmas I was rather angry and disappointed.”
But Mr Towler, who is also a parish and Bedford Borough councillor, said thanks to the help of fellow local businesses and suppliers they were able to make good on Christmas orders.
“I must admit from the depths of despair we started ringing around our suppliers, other farm shops and retail business and by about 6pm we had mostly got everything together again,” he said.
“The only things we couldn’t supply were particular cheeses and other speciality things.”
He estimates that around £20,000 of stock and damage was caused by the crooks at the family run Scald End Farm shop and tea rooms.
“It looked like our donkeys had been in there for the night pulling everything everywhere. It was a mess,” he said.
The business owner has lodged a complaint with Beds Police after he was told by a 999 operator hang up and dial the non-emergency number 101 after discovering the break-in. He was then told that someone would call him back.
However, Mr Towler did praise the work carried out by frontline officers when they later arrived at the crime scene.