Bolton cafe boss foils catering equipment robbery

A police car parked in a closed area after a construction crane was bent overnight in high winds brought by Storm Katie in south London on March 28, 2016. 
Tens of thousands of homes were without power in northwestern France early Monday after the region was pounded overnight by winds gusting to hurricane force that also triggered flight cancellations and outages in southern England. / AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS        (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Bolton café is counting its blessings after preventing thieves from making off with important items of catering equipment from its kitchen.

Odessa Cafe in the town centre was targeted by five individuals who broke into the café late at night in a bid to steal a range of light equipment and its coffee machine.

But they escaped empty-handed after owner Alex McVey dashed to the premises when he was alerted that the security alarm had been set off.

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“As I entered the cafe, they went out the way they came in, through the smashed side door. They were piling stuff up in the back street and were ready to take it away. It was equipment and stock. They were passing stuff through the side window they had broken,” he told The Bolton News.

Mr. McVey said the burglars had cut all the electrics and were coming and going for about 30 minutes.

A coffee machine, a meat slicer, a vegetable slicer and the till drawer were unplugged and had been collected when the burglars fled.

“They didn’t get away with anything but if I hadn’t come down half an hour later we would have had to close down due to the losses. It’s industrial catering equipment. It’s not worth a great deal and it’s not particularly easy to sell on.”

Mr McVey said that repairing the damage will cost the business about £4,500.

“I think ‘oh well’ and have a make-do-and-mend attitude rather than improving things — but we do need to approach the council about getting some community funding for street lighting here because it’s very poor and extra CCTV cameras — there are some but they’re not sufficient.”

Odessa Café is understood to be among 15 town centre businesses that have been targeted by the gang over recent weeks. A branch of Costa Coffee had a window smashed and Ciao Napoli restaurant suffered a break-in two weeks ago. The thieves escaped with the till but did not steal any catering equipment.

Inspector Dave Henthorne, of Bolton South and Central Integrated Neighbourhood Policing Team, told the paper: “We have a problem with burglaries in the town centre. We have had 15 since March 24 and we have an ongoing operation in place to try to catch those responsible.”

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