Alan Dunn (Open All Hours, Keswick) wrote: “I am banging my head against a brick wall.”

He had tried to help a friend who was on holiday in France and who emailed him to ask if he could send one of his customers a consignment on his behalf. “I bought the stock through a wholesaler and sent it via City Link to Nottingham.”

Only it never arrived. “So it is me who is out of pocket,” says Alan. The consignment, 12 x70cl bottles and 24 miniature bottles of Bedrock Gin, had a retail value of £365.40.

Alan sent a detailed report to City Link: the regular driver had scanned the pick-up into his system (and later confirmed that he remembered the collection), but when Alan checked his tracking report it said it was still awaiting collection. It appears to have disappeared once it reached the Carlisle depot.

Given that the consignment was picked up on 11 August it is highly unlikely that it will reappear. Alan hoped my contacting the company might stir up some action. A spokeswoman replied (after several nudges): “City Link’s customer services department has no record of Mr Dunn making a claim; however, under the company’s terms and conditions loss or damage of glass is not covered. The customer would have been made aware of this at the time of sending the consignment.”

Well, Alan knows that; he’s a long-standing customer. If it was broken rather than stolen, where is the evidence? It’s poor treatment of a regular customer and not good publicity in the run-up to Christmas.