Sunderland's Cafe Floriana broken into just three weeks after opening

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The new city centre cafe has not even been open a month.

Sunderland businesswomen who brought new life to a once-empty city centre site are today counting the cost after thieves broke in overnight.

Thieves smashed a window to gain entryThieves smashed a window to gain entry
Thieves smashed a window to gain entry

Mother and daughter Kate and Emilia Ross opened Cafe Floriana in the former Proven People site in Burdon Road just three weeks ago.

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It was a big step forward for their hospitality venture, moving into larger premises after building up a loyal following for their previous cafe, The Front Parlour in Stockton Road.

But last night, Sunday May 12, their cafe was broken into.

The offender smashed a window, crawling under the alarm sensor before taking the till float and a mobile phone.

The cost of the repairs will now cost more than what was taken.

Emilia and Kate Ross opened Cafe Floriana three weeks agoEmilia and Kate Ross opened Cafe Floriana three weeks ago
Emilia and Kate Ross opened Cafe Floriana three weeks ago

Kate said: “A customer passed at 5.30am this morning and saw the window and rang us to let us now. It’s so frustrating.

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“They haven’t even taken that much, it’s the sheer inconvenience and mindlessness of it. They’ve left a lot of fingerprints and we’re going through CCTV so hopefully the police may be able to find who’s done it.”

Cafe Floriana opened just three weeks agoCafe Floriana opened just three weeks ago
Cafe Floriana opened just three weeks ago

She added: “We’re so angry, it’s horrible. We have had so much support from customers and other local businesses in the area, it’s been phenomenal, but there’s some people who just want to ruin all the good that is being done in the city.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We received a report of burglary at a premises on Burdon Road in Sunderland city centre, which is reported to have taken place sometime overnight on Sunday (May 12) into Monday morning.

“It was reported that offenders smashed a window to the building before gaining entry and taking a till and a mobile phone and then leaving the scene.

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“Enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information regarding the report should use the ‘Report’ page or call 101, quoting reference number NP-20240513-0140.” 

Creating Cafe Floriana has been a real labour of love for Kate and Emilia and moving to the larger site enabled them to boost their offering, including a wide range of gluten-free, vegan dishes and options for those with nut allergies.

The Victorian building, opposite the Museum & Winter Gardens, which had been empty for around three years, has a long history in the city and was once home to the then town’s railway manager’s office.

Monday is the pair’s day off and they were hoping to enjoy a day trip out before hearing of the break in. They are hoping to be back open for business tomorrow.

:: Cafe Floriana, Burdon Road, is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm and Sundays from 10am to 3pm and is dog-friendly.

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