Cafe burgled for third time this year

June Clark, owner of the Serendipity tea rooms, Frederick Street, Sunderland.
June Clark, owner of the Serendipity tea rooms, Frederick Street, Sunderland.
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EVES have targeted a new business for the third time in a year.

Raiders struck again at Serendipity Tea & Trinkets in Sunderland, trashing the vintage-themed cafe and causing hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

The criminals even snatched a CCTV aimed at deterring break-ins and two charity boxes – one collecting for Help for Heroes, which supports wounded soldiers – leaving a repair bill of £1,200.

But determined June Clark, 49, who runs the Frederick Street cafe with husband Robin, 53, said they would not be beaten by criminals. She added: “This is the third time in 12 months we have been burgled.

“But this time they left something behind, so the police think they might have some DNA.

“They seem to have some leads.”

June fears a lack of on-street CCTV cameras is attracting criminals to the area. She said: “If I had known how bad it was, then I might have chosen somewhere else, but it is one of the nicest parts of the town.

“We are a brand-new business and we are just starting to make a bit of money, then this just takes it away.

“It is a horrible feeling. When someone come in and does this, it gets you down, but I try not to take it personally.”

A traffic warden spotted damage to the cafe’s front door shortly before 8am last Thursday.

Police contacted the couple, who spent the morning tidying up the mess before they could re-open to customers.

Thieves kicked a hole through the floor of the flat above the cafe in August last year, showering filthy brick dust which ruined retro gifts on sale.

The raiders snatched cash and an iPod. A month later, there was more expense for the new business owners after the cafe was broken into again.

Since then, the couple have beefed up security, with metal shutters and a CCTV system.

The Clarks, who live in Ashbrooke, gave up their careers to open Serendipity at the end of March last year.

They married eight years ago, when June worked in sales and dreamed of running a tearoom.

Robin swapped working as a corporate lawyer for serving scones and Wearside-themed tea blends with her.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “Inquiries are being carried out. Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101, extension 69191, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”