with updates on Saturday 31 October 2015
and Thursday 5 November 2015
Bill Bailey, comedian and star of Black Books, was in Liverpool yesterday for the latest date on his “Limboland” tour – at the city’s Philharmonic Hall, home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The 1930s art deco Hall has recently re-opened after a £14m refurbishment and extension.
It seems he had parked his tour van – a Mercedes Sprinter van – in the Hall’s car park. According to reports two thieves entered the Hall through an open side door – which had been left wedged open. They then broke into the production office and stole the keys and two laptops. They then simply drove off with their haul in Bailey’s van. The van, which they probably stole when the opportunity arose upon finding the keys in the office, contained the crew’s suitcases and some Bill Bailey merchandise.
The comedian was philosophical on Twitter this morning: “Lively crowd @liverpoolphil last night – shame our tour bus was nicked from outside the venue! So gig not too bad al things considered.”
He also posted a message on Facebook: “Scousers, keep ’em peeled… At 2.30pm yesterday afternoon (Mon 26th October) two thieves entered the Liverpool Philharmonic via a wedged open side door and broke into the production offices for Bill Bailey’s live tour, Limboland.”
In true showbiz style, the tour goes on despite the problems caused. A spokesman for Bailey added, however, that the theft had “sadly tainted our visit to the good city of Liverpool.” The Limboland tour hits Cardiff tonight.
As you woud expect, Twitter has been on the Scouser’s are thieves stereotype like a rash since the incident. Paul Goddard (@fidothedogstert) tweeted: “Shocked, I am truly shocked that the fine folk of Liverpool would steal something that belongs to someone else.” While Peter Boyle (@peteboyle70) tweeted: “The comedian @BillBailey tour bus nicked. No guesses from which city it has been stolen.”
The funniest, however, was the tweet from the TicketmasterUK Twitter feed (@ticketmasteruk) … “We just had some production seats released for the hilarious @BillBailey ApolloManc this weekend.”
Update: Saturday 31 October 2015
Following the theft of his Limboland tour bus last Monday from outside the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Bill Bailey has said that the theft won’t stop him visiting and performing in Liverpool in the future. He said that he’s “been coming to Liverpool to perform for many years, and I’ve got very happy memories of performing at all the different venues liked the Neptune [now the Epstein], the Phil, the Empire and the ECHO arena.
“It’s a great city and it’s just a shame it happened where it did. We’ll bounce back but it won’t put me off coming back in the future.”
He said that he regretted the loss of his crew’s personal property in the van but said that he was relieved that it wasn’t worse: “I have hand-made guitars and really irreplaceable items which I use as part of my show, which were also in the venue but not in the production office. [ . . . ]
“It’s a warning to others about the need to be vigilant. We carry a lot of equipment in vans and we can’t be watching them all the time. It’s an occupational hazard which has happened to a lot of bands and artists – even U2 had a tour bus stolen!”
Merseyside Police, after studying CCTV footage have issued two photographs of a man they want to speak to about the theft (see link below).
Bailey said he thought the theft was a “slick operation” and that there may have been more than one person involved. He feels that the the thief or thieves were possibly watching the area: “The production office was unoccupied because the crew were in the catering area. It’s as if they knew what they were looking for and where they could find it.”
He also said that he was aware of the stereotypical Scousers-as-thieves jokes that were going around and that he doesn’t intend to make it a part of his show, “but if someone mentions it I might say something about walking to gigs from now on!”
The stolen van is a silver/grey Mercedes “Tiger Tours Sprinter Splitter” van, registration CE14 VFS. Anyone with information should call 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Update: Thursday 5 November 2015
It was reported today that the Limboland tour bus stolen in Liverpool has been found in the Tuebrook area of the city. It had been fitted with false number plates but has been identified as the van belonging to Bill Bailey.
Police say the Mercedes Sprinter van was found on the 28th October, three days after it was stolen from outside the Philharmonic Hall and has now been identified as the stolen vehicle. Bill Bailey tweeted his thanks to the “good people of Liverpool” for their help.
Bailey’s manager said that the van had suffered some minor crash damage and that the laptops and suitcases also stolen from the production office at the Phil and from the van are still missing. Merseyside Police are continuing with their CCTV appeal to locate a man wanted for questioning.