THE owner of a deli in Mudeford was left “heartbroken” after thieves caused thousands of pounds of damage in a break-in.
Speaking to the A&T, Andrea Fullwood, who has run Deli-Licious Dorset in Falcon Drive for four years, told of her upset at having to close last Friday as a result of the previous night’s raid.
A front door window was smashed to gain entry to the premises, which specialises in serving local produce from Dorset, before the intruders escaped with a till and charity collection box.
Despite not actually taking any cash, Mrs Fullwood (53), from Christchurch, pointed out that as well as damaging the door, the intruders unplugged a fridge in the process of disconnecting the till.
This resulted in up to £400 of food having to be thrown away.
“It’s very upsetting,” she said. “These thieves caused a couple of thousand pounds worth of damage and got absolutely nothing.
“We’ve all worked hard to make the deli nice and comfortable, and it’s heart-breaking when these people come in and cause so much damage to steal an empty till.”
Mrs Fullwood discovered the business had been targeted when she arrived for work around 8.30am last Friday and saw broken glass on the ground outside.
Unsure whether or not the offenders were still there, she carefully ventured inside and found the till was missing and more broken glass and egg boxes littered the floor. She alerted police and was forced to keep the café closed for a forensic investigation and a clear-up.
“The biggest impact was that we had to close down for the day,” Mrs Fullwood continued.
“We’re not a big business – I employ four staff who all work part time. We have a lot of regular elderly customers who come in for the company and to chat to people.
“It’s a place where people meet up every day, and most of them don’t see anyone when they’re at home. This place is more like a community hub.”
However, she was cheered by the number of people who gave up their time to help with the clear-up effort after the forensics teams had finished their examination of the scene. Volunteers included some customers and all four of her employees, three of whom were not due to work that day.
Mrs Fullwood also praised a local glazing company for its support in dealing with the broken window.
“Customers brought me flowers,” she said. “They also came and helped board the windows up. Everybody was so lovely.”
The “thorough” work carried out by police was also commended, although officers had been delayed by responding to a raid on another business.
Greggs in Saxon Square, Christchurch, had been targeted during the same night, but a Dorset Police spokesperson said it was not currently being linked to the deli raid.
Investigations into the incident, which Mrs Fullwood believes took place around 2.30am, are continuing and people are being urged to come forward if they witnessed any suspicious activity.
Anyone with information should contact officers on 101, quoting crime reference number 5:102, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.