Bury St Edmunds pub owners 'devastated' after break-in
The owners of a Bury St Edmunds pub have been left ‘devastated’ after a break-in - and fear more businesses forced to close during the coronavirus crisis could be targeted.
Thieves smashed their way into The Tavern in St John’s Street at some point overnight from 11.15pm on Sunday and poured themselves pints of beer before stealing a laptop and non-alcoholic ciders and beers.
Julie Nichols, who owns the pub with husband Craig and Diane and Andrew Grant, said the culprits were the ‘lowest of the low’ having targeted a business forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re devastated,” she said. “The last week we were doing takeaways to pay our staff.
“We stayed open all weekend doing cashless collections because I want to pay the staff who have been loyal to me.
“They’ve worked really hard to get the business off the ground.
“You try to do the right thing. If it was a normal time we would be fed up about it but at the moment it’s the lowest of the low to do that.”
She said they have CCTV and the 'saddest thing' is they can see the thieves 'pouring pints of beer, raising their glasses and cheering each other'.
With the country now on lockdown and all non-essential businesses ordered to shut, Julie said other businesses in the town are 'concerned' they could be targeted by thieves.
"I think it's going to be happening a lot more," she said. "If we are put on lockdown it will be even worse."
She thanked Johnny George, who offered to board up the smashed window.
The Tavern opened last May and is rated ninth on Tripadvisor out of 162 restaurants in Bury.
"The trade has just built and built," Julie said. "We've spent six to nine months to build up a reputation. Now we're going to have to start all again whenever the time comes to reopen which is fine. We will do that.
"We've got some of the most amazing customers - they're not customers, they're our friends."
We will take appropriate action to identify and arrest those individuals who might seek to exploit the current situation - Suffolk Police
Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds Business Improvement District, said he was 'horrified' at the break-in.
A Suffolk Police spokesman said: "We will continue to look closely at crime trends across the county and we will take appropriate action to identify and arrest those individuals who might seek to exploit the current situation."
He urged small business owners to 'review security regularly' using the police's self-assessment document (click here).
Contact 101 quoting37/17601/20 or visit www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/existing-report-update
More by this authorPaul Derrick