Police are investigating the disappearance of an antiques dealer after receiving complaints from his customers.
Stuart Porter Antiques in Broad Street, Stamford, closed suddenly earlier this month and since then customers have tried in vain to contact Mr Porter.
The building was cleared of stock, calls to Mr Porter’s mobile went straight to an answer phone, the shop’s website shut down and a previously active Twitter account went quiet.
A note was left on the shop door simply reading: “Sorry for the inconvenience but we are closed today.”
Since then police have received several complaints from members of the public.
Police refused to reveal the nature of the complaints but one customer told the Mercury they were from people who had entrusted Mr Porter with antiques or were otherwise owed money by him.
Officers have visited Mr Porter’s home and business addresses but have been unable to find him.
Inspector Mike Burnett said: “This is an ongoing crime inquiry. We have had several people come forward.
“I would appeal to anyone else who has had problems with Mr Porter to speak to us.”
One Stamford resident contacted the Mercury after Mr Porter disappeared to say she had left several items in his possession for him to sell on, including a set of antique toys that had been in her family for generations.
She had tried to get in touch with him without success and had eventually resorted to contacting the police.
The woman, who is in her 70s, said: “When I realised he had gone I felt absolutely shattered. I felt really sick.
“The toys had been with my family since my mother’s childhood. I was hoping to sell them because I have no-one to leave them to. They were just sitting in the box doing nothing.
“I would encourage people to go to the police if they have been affected.”
She said she felt she had been taken advantage of and hoped police would be able to speak to Mr Porter and the situation resolved.
The Mercury tried to contact Mr Porter without success.
- If you have been affected by the closure of the antiques centre, contact our newsdesk on 01780 750436 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.