A COFFEE shop has been forced to close for several days after raiders caused £35,000 of damage and stole essential equipment.
Caffe & Cream, in Billericay High Street, has a note on the door saying it is closed until further notice after the break-in, at at about 11pm last Monday.
Burglars forced the back door, then removed the shop’s main espresso machine, which was connected to the mains water supply at the time, flooding the shop, and causing even more damage.
The raiders also smashed up an ice cream machine, crockery a glass shelf, and a coffee grinder.
Owner Nina Kemal, said: “Our main concern at the minute is getting things up and running again. There was a lot of damage, but we are looking to reopen later this week.
“We have been here for three years and have some really amazing customers, who have all been very supportive.”
Police are linking the incident to an attempt to break into Costa Coffee’s nearby Billericay High Street branch on Sunday, January 26. Thieves tampered with the shop’s alarm and caused £100 worth of damage, but failed to get in.
After both incidents, witnesses reported seeing an S&J Self Hire van near the scene.
Scott Wilson, director of the Basildon-based S&J Self Hire, said the company was co-operating with police over the reports.
He added: “We have about 300 vans and unfortunately, the police were unable to provide us with a registration number so we could find out who had rented this van.
“It could have been a coincidence an S&J van was seen in the area, but we will continue to assist the police with their enquiries if we can.”
Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on 101.