Thieves break into station café

PUBLISHED: 15:53 13 December 2017

Yatton Railway Station.

Yatton Railway Station.

Archant

‘Mindless’ vandals smashed their way into a community café at the weekend, meaning it needs public support to ensure it can ‘guarantee wages’ for young people with learning difficulties who keep it running.

The Strawberry Line Café at Yatton train station was trashed on Saturday at about 5am – hours before it was due to celebrate its seventh anniversary.

It is the second time this year criminals have broken in, and one of its volunteers admits the first raid was a ‘near disaster’.

The café faces a large repair bill – money which would have helped youngsters with learning difficulties get employment opportunities and experience.

Police have begun an investigation.

Antony Wakeford, from the café, said the building has suffered ‘significant damage’ in the ‘mindless act’ and it ‘will cost many hundreds of pounds to fix’.

He has urged people to be as supportive as they were in the spring when £500 was stolen and the café similarly damaged.

Mr Wakeford said: “May’s break-in was a difficult time as we had both physical losses of money and much damage to repair.

“However, the near disaster had an amazing outcome when the people of Yatton and the surrounding area made donations to help us get back on our feet. GWR helped financially as well.

“All who work at the café were astounded by the contributions and messages of good-will.

“Once again the damage caused will have a significant effect on the young people we employ.

“The café operates on a financial knife-edge, so spending money to repair the significant door damage will mean we will have to raise additional funds to be able to guarantee the wages for our young people with learning difficulties – people who just want a chance to work.”

Mr Wakeford hopes the increased security at the café introduced since May will ensure those responsible are caught.

But that will not pay its unexpected repair bill.

Mr Wakeford said the café makes a ‘real difference’ to young people’s lives but admits its success is reliant on donations.

He said: “Please support the café over the next few months to help us recoup some of these losses. Just pop in for a cup of tea, a cake or for lunch – we are open weekdays and at weekends.

“You can also make a one-off donation, or join our Friends and make a regular monthly donation.”

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