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Wines at risk after LCB roof collapse

Wine companies are anxious for news on the condition of their stock after the roof collapsed at London City Bond’s warehouse in Purfleet, Essex last week.

Staff at the warehouse tried to salvage as much stock as possible, but their task was made all the more difficult due to the fact any stock which wasn’t destroyed in the accident was then exposed to potentially damaging sub-zero temperatures.

Alf Allington, managing director of London City Bond, wrote to customers last Friday (3 December), informing them of a “major incident” at the Purfleet site.

“A large part of the roof of the building has collapsed into the warehouse,” said Allington.

“The emergency services have been contacted along with HM Revenue & Customs.

“The current position is that there is no access to the building due to the remaining structure being unsafe.

“We cannot process any further orders received from you or give access to anyone trying to collect from the Purfleet site.”

A spokesman for Just Good Wine, an LCB customer, added: “It appears that the roof collapsed due to the heavy snow fall of the last few days.”

A Just Good Wine delegation then visited the site on Saturday (4 December) and reported: “[The damage] is quite substantial.

“The staff were trying to salvage as much as they could, but the task was all the more difficult due to the weather conditions.

“As rain falls, cardboard weakens and so piles of wines boxes become very unstable and dangerous to deal with. Some of our stock was salvaged, fortunately, although we do not know as yet what was lost.”

A further update on Monday, 6 December, provided some positive news for Just Good Wine customers, as the merchant reported that “it appears most of our stock was salvaged”, though it is unclear whether such luck befell other wine stocks held in the warehouse.

An LCB statement said: “During the evening of 2 December the roof at LCB’s Purfleet warehouse collapsed bringing down with it many tons of snow – a scenario not unfamiliar to a leading supermarket the following day. Fortunately nobody was inside the building at the time.

“A rapid response from the directors of LCB ensured that alternative bonded premises were approved, virtually overnight, to allow a recovery operation to commence immediately.

“This has continued throughout the weekend and has allowed some 40,000 cases to be transferred within three days and landed into newly created accounts on behalf of over 100 customers.”

Alan Lodge, 08.12.2010

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