Chicken and Sons is believed to have lost stock worth more than £1million in Wednesday night?s suspected arson attack on its premises near Dunstable in Bedfordshire.

But after a difficult few days, the message from the company is that it?s business as usual. The company hopes full service will be resumed in about four weeks? time.

Chicken and Sons is the sole UK distributor of Time and Cinelli bikes and also a major supplier of Campagnolo, Selle Italia and Mavic equipment.

Operations director Mike Catlin said the situation could have been a lot worse and that although the company?s owners and staff are devastated, they are also counting themselves lucky.

?We?re down but we?re not out,? he said. ?If it had to happen, this is not a bad time for it to happen. We are still waiting for a lot of our 2008 stock to come in. Had it happened in May when we are fully-stocked we?d have lost a lot more.?

Chickens has lost its main office and warehouse in Kensworth but had recently acquired a second warehouse nearby. A lot of stock had been stored there, lessening the impact of the fire.

All the stock that has been destroyed will be covered by insurance.

Now the focus is on restoring customer confidence and reassuring clients that Chickens?s business goes on.

?We?ll have our phone lines in tomorrow morning (Monday) and we are working hard to minimise disruption,? Mr Catlin added. ?We hope to have our stock levels back in four to six weeks and hopefully our customers will exercise a little patience.?

He added that the blaze had taken hold quickly. ?With all that cardboard and plastic the fire really got out of control quickly. At one stage it was a very dramatic blaze. To see all that beautiful equipment go up in flames was heart-breaking,? said Mr Catlin.

It took more than 50 firefighters almost five hours to put the blaze out.

* A 17-year-old male has been arrested and charged with arson and is due to appear in court on Monday morning.

* Chickens will relaunch its website at www.chickencycles.co.uk next Monday (November 12).

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