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Burglars steal from Romford cafe that employs those with learning disabilities

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:38 07 April 2017

Tracey Brennan and staff at Jackson's Cafe which was recently burgled

Tracey Brennan and staff at Jackson's Cafe which was recently burgled

Archant

Burglars broke into a cafe that employs people with learning disabilities and stole theatre tickets paid for by money by one of its loyal customers who had died.

When a member of staff at Jackson’s Cafe, High Street, Romford, arrived early for work on Tuesday, they were shocked to see the glass door had been shattered.

It soon became clear that the tip box had been stolen and the safe containing around £1,200 had been ripped out of the wall in project manager Tracey Brennan’s office.

Tracey said: “My office had been ransacked.

“They broke down the door to get in and because they couldn’t get into the safe then and there, they just took it. What kind of person do you have to be to do this?

“Whoever did it are lowlife scum.”

Tickets for all of the 31 trainees to see the stage show Grease at Cliffs Pavilion in Southend next week were also in the safe.

Romford residents Alice Finny and her husband Stan visited the cafe every week for many years.

Shortly after she died on New Year’s Eve, Stan found an envelope containing £1,000 and a letter asking in the event of her death, for him to give the money to Jackson’s Cafe.

Tracey said: “They loved coming here together and weren’t just customers, they became friends.”

Donations have been given to Tracey at the cafe and a Go Fund Me page has been set up by Shannon Kaitell, 23, of Romford, whose sister works at the cafe. It has so far raised more than £400.

She said: “My sister will never be able to move out and be completely independent so Jackson’s does mean a lot to her. We want to get it back on its feet again.”

The community got behind Jackson’s Cafe last year as well after a fire broke out, destroying a lot of its equipment.

Tracey said: “After this wicked act, it’s heartwarming to see there are still good people out there.”

The cafe, which has been filling stomachs for 25 years, helps hundreds through a two-year NVQ course teaching skills such as food preparation and working front of house.

Cliffs Pavilion has replaced the tickets so staff will still be able to see the show next week.

No arrests have been made and inquiries continue.

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