Restaurant putting up iron bars to stop future break-ins

Wayne Chapman, owner of The Ber Street Kitchen in Norwich 

Wayne Chapman, owner of The Ber Street Kitchen in Norwich - Credit: Ben Hardy

A restaurant boss is in disbelief at how thieves "sleep at night" after "attacking small independent businesses trying to make ends meet".

The frustrations from Wayne Chapman, owner of The Ber Street Kitchen, come as a St Benedicts Street business has become the latest victim in a spate of break-ins at city hospitality businesses over the past couple of months.  

Some £200 was stolen during the most recent St Benedicts Street burglary at 11.50pm on February 16.

A 42-year-old man has been charged in connection with the burglary and is set to appear at Norwich Crown Court.

In unrelated incidents The Ber Street Kitchen was targeted overnight on four separate occasions in January in which cash and food were stolen and CCTV cameras were dismantled.

Wayne Chapman, owner of The Ber Street Kitchen 

Wayne Chapman, owner of The Ber Street Kitchen - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mr Chapman said: "There is a lot of paranoia and staff get twitchy. We are putting in iron bars and have spent thousands of pounds on future-proofing our CCTV and alarms.

"This is a quiet time of year for us and we cannot afford to be forking out thousands of pounds on security. We are having to cut staff hours a bit. Prices are going up. We were lucky to survive the pandemic."

Chef Richard Bainbridge at the pedestrian crossing near his Benedicts restaurant on St Benedicts Street, Norwich.

Chef Richard Bainbridge outside his Benedicts Restaurant in St Benedicts Street, Norwich - Credit: Denise Bradley

This was reiterated by chef Richard Bainbridge, owner of Benedicts Restaurant in St Benedicts Street, who had £300 worth of produce stolen from behind his business last year and a large window smashed before Christmas.

Mr Bainbridge said: "We are a family-run business. It is personal. We are trying to make sure our building is safe.

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"We go home at night and our livelihood is left on the street. A break-in would be like breaking into my home.

"Our industry is struggling. It is hard to survive this after the hurdles that have already been put in front of us."

At least eight city venues have been burgled in recent weeks including The Red Lion pub, The Bengal Spice Indian restaurant, as well as Figbar and Salt.

The police confirmed some of these cases are related.

Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers, who has a strict 'no vaccine - no entry' policy. Picture: DE

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers pub in Timber Hill, Norwich - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers pub in Timber Hill, said: "It is dreadful and sad that independent businesses have been broken into."