A businesswoman has spoken of her heartache after a burglar breached coronavirus lockdown to smash his way into a Stoke-on-Trent takeaway.
Molly Cosgrove was dismayed to discover a break-in at The Pasta Kitchen in Fenton when she went to open ready for a busy shift delivering food.
CCTV captured a man ransacking the King Street fast food restaurant at around 10pm on Monday (March 30).
An investigation is now underway with forensic officers visiting the venue.
Molly, aged 24, said: “I discovered the break-in at 3.30pm when I went to open up ready for a night of no-contact delivery service.
“He had smashed both the padlocks off and smashed the windows to gain entrance.
“He then rooted through the whole shop to find something, opening all the drawers and cupboards.
“He also stripped the till bare trying to find money but wasn’t successful in doing so.
“He had rubber gloves and a torch to help him see.
“The only thing that was taken in the end was a work mobile phone. There was no money left in the shop as we take it home every night.
“The police came with the forensics and I’m waiting to hear back from them.”
Beautician Molly launched The Pasta Kitchen in August last year after discovering she had more passion for cooking than applying makeup and tinting eyebrows.
It is a ‘Subway-style’ eatery, where you can pick and choose your pasta and toppings to create the perfect meal.
She is still offering a takeaway service covering both the Fenton and Hanley areas after the country went into lockdown.
Molly, who lives in Hanley, said: “It had been going really well after appearing in The Sentinel my business rocketed, a lot of people didn’t know about us.
“After lockdown started business dropped but we still managed to get by just about, just from deliveries on JustEat but then this happens.
“It’s just sad because of how hard I’ve worked.
“The whole shop has been wrecked and it’s such bad timing with the virus slowing down business anyway.
“The money we’ve been making whilst in lockdown has got to be used to get new windows and new security locks.
“I’ve lost two days of earnings because of it too. I hope people still want to support small businesses.”
Molly has been inundated with messages of support after sharing details of the raid on Facebook.
One woman said: “Stuff like this infuriates me. You work so hard to gain a successful business and then someone just comes in and disrespects it like that and costs you money. It’s a disgrace.”
And another added: “I’m so sorry to see this, especially during such a difficult time for small businesses. I hope you manage to get your windows sorted.”
Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “We were called to the Pasta Kitchen in King Street shortly after 4pm to reports of a break in. Officers attended and assessed the scene. Inquiries are ongoing.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.