Owner of Gateshead cafe backs police appeal to identify intruders who raided her property
14 Mar | 11:52

The owner of a riverfront cafe has backed a police appeal after a burglary caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage and forced it to close.

Suzanne, 36, owns the popular Staiths Cafe that sits on the bank of the River Tyne in the Teams area of Gateshead.

The cafe is popular among residents in the Staiths estate but last month it was targeted by thieves in an early morning raid.

At about 1.30am on Monday, February 25, Suzanne received a message on her phone to say the alarm had been activated at the premises.

Her brother, who lives above the flat, went to check what had happened at which point he found the newly-installed glass window had been smashed.

They contacted police but the person responsible had already fled the scene - having swiped just £10 from a tip jar.

Officers launched an investigation to identify the thieves while it is also estimated the damage to the cafe could run into hundreds of pounds.

Now police have released a CCTV image of two men they want to speak to about the robbery and Suzanne is backing the appeal for witnesses.

She said: "When the glass was smashed they have broken the door and so that wouldn't lock properly.

"It happened really early in the morning and we couldn't leave it unlocked so my partner had to sleep in the cafe overnight.

"This is the second time it has happened and we have had to install security cameras and we know not to keep anything valuable in the cafe.

"We couldn't open for a few hours that morning and the damage has probably cost us about £150 to fix.

"It does have an impact on the community because people have come in and were asking what had happened and it sends a ripple through the estate.

"What I would say is that the customers have been really supportive and angered by it because they know how hard we work."

Neighbourhood beat manager PC Andy Hyde is leading the investigation and today called on anyone who recognises the men in the CCTV images to get in touch.

He said: "We believe that the offenders have used a drain cover to smash through the window before making an untidy search of the premises.

"The owners are always careful not to leave any large sums of cash in the premises so the intrudes were only able to make off with a handful of change.

"Our enquiries are ongoing this week but we are now releasing an image of men who we need to trace as part of our investigation.

"We know he was in the area of the cafe when the burglary took place so we need the men, or anyone who knows them, to get in touch.

"This cafe is at the heart of the community down on the Staiths estate and we know local people will be concerned.

"We are patrolling in the area but we would encourage anyone who sees anyone acting suspiciously to get in touch."

Anyone who recognises the men in the images, or has seen anyone acting suspiciously in the Staiths estate recently, should call police on 101 quoting log 44 25/02/19.

You can also report information online at www.northumbria.police.uk, email PC Hyde on 473@northumbria.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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