A family cafe which suffered thousands of pounds of damage after an intruder broke in and went on a rampage before being allegedly arrested has now reopened. Entry was gained into Annie and The Flint last Wednesday morning, May 25, when the offender allegedly walked through the glass door between 12:30 a.m. and 12:45 a.m.
Once inside, extensive damage was caused by throwing dishes, including at the front windows causing them to smash, throwing tables and chairs and throwing food. The High Street cafe remained closed for four days to clean up the mess and replace or repair damaged items.
Crime scene investigators spent last Wednesday gathering evidence, and then the big cleanup could begin. It reopened yesterday May 30.
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Police have confirmed a man has been arrested on suspicion of burglary, possession of Class A drugs and assaulting a rescue worker. The suspect, a man in his 20s, was immediately transferred to North Devon District Hospital for treatment and is still awaiting question.
Also at the scene, a 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm. He has since been released pending further investigation.
The cafe is owned by Paul and Laura Hopkinson and the first time they heard about their break-in was from their eldest daughter who saw it shared on Snapchat.
Paul recalled: “They say the fastest way to find out stuff these days is through social media. Our daughter saw it on a Snapchat story when people were filming it. She came into our bedroom to wake us up and said, ‘I this is our coffee someone broke in.’ We rushed there as fast as we could and were greeted by a scene of utter chaos.
“It looked like someone had gone on a rampage. Apparently while it was going on a few people passing by decided to help stop it and fought with it, so there was also blood in coffee.
“By the time we arrived most of the police were gone and the ambulance was gone. This is not something that usually happens in Ilfracombe.
“Around £5,000 of damage was done. Not a huge amount could be salvaged. We only had about 25 per cent of the crockery left so we had to place an emergency order. We also lost a good part of our stock and all the perishable foods had to go.
“Some of the tables and chairs could be fixed and we had to do a deep cleaning. Our first reaction was shock and then we had to deal with it to open as quickly as possible.
“It wasn’t a malicious attack on coffee. It was incredibly boring and stressful, but you just have to get on with life.”
“We lost four days of activity and obviously being the start of half term it is one of our busiest times. Although we were back yesterday we have big signs through Although we’ve had good support from locals on Facebook, holidaymakers coming down will look at the cafe and think, what’s that?
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called at around 12.15pm on Wednesday May 25 to reports of criminal damage to a shop front on Ilfracombe High Street Units assisted and detained a man suspected of burglary, possession of Class A drugs and assault of a rescue worker.
“The suspect, a man in his 20s, was immediately transferred to North Devon District Hospital for treatment and is still awaiting question.
“At the scene, officers were also made aware of reports of an assault and a 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault causing grievous bodily harm. He has since been released under investigation in the pending further investigation.
“Officers continue to investigate this matter.”
Annie and The Flint opened in September 2016. It is a specialty cafe that serves artisan style food. Its name comes from when Paul owned a computer business called Flint Hosts and the cafe’s first manager was named Annie.
Although she is since gone, the name is a reminder of how she helped the company in its early days. Paul and Laura’s 19-year-old son Joshua is also involved in the business.
Paul said: “Owning the cafe has been great and it’s a growing business. The last few years have been tough and we’ve been closed more than we’ve been open, but it’s coming to the right place now. We We are certainly seeing an increase in our income from the summer period.
“After the break-in, people were really supportive. We’re blown away by how many people come by and talk to us. We wrote on Facebook about what happened and got some amazing feedback from the community. local.”
Annie and The Flint is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.