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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Stolen Rainbow costumes returned
Geoffrey Hayes with Zippy (centre), George and Bungle
The theft of the costumes was not reported to police
The stolen costumes of Bungle, Zippy and George - the characters from the hit children's television programme Rainbow - have been returned.

They were sent back to the London production offices of a new stage show featuring former Rainbow presenter, Geoffrey Hayes, along with a note saying "sorry".

The costumes, worth thousands of pounds, were stolen on Tuesday from the back of an estate car parked at Membury Services on the M4 in Berkshire.

The theft was not reported to Thames Valley Police but the production team has denied the disappearance was a publicity stunt.

Day and night

The costumes were being driven back to London following filming in Bristol for the new stage show, Over the Rainbow.

It will be premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in August.

The show's producer, Richard Temple, said the costumes arrived in a large box on Friday at his offices in Kensington High Street.

There was no explanation other than the one-word note of apology.

"I am delighted. We have been rehearsing day and night since Tuesday trying to get the show ready for Edinburgh without Zippy, Bungle and George but it was never going to be the same," he said.

Not insured

"Geoffrey is obviously ecstatic and incredibly relieved at their return and has asked me to pass on his thanks to whoever sent them back to us."

Later Tim Leist, a spokesman for Mr Temple, denied the incident had been a publicity stunt.

He said: "Not at all. The reason it wasn't reported to police is because they weren't insured, so there was no need for a crime reference number.

"Richard was scared of getting the police involved in case it frightened off the person who took them.

"He went for the appeal option instead and it's worked."

A reward of 5,000 had been offered for the return of the costumes.

Geoffrey Hayes had only just bought the Bungle puppet for 3,760 at an auction at Christie's.

Mr Temple's company owns the other two.


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See also:

23 Jul 02 | England
12 Jul 02 | Entertainment
12 Jul 01 | Entertainment
30 May 01 | Entertainment
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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