A RESTAURANT owner has pledged to buy lunch or dinner for burglars who broke in and stole just £42...if they admit to their crime.

The burglars targeted Mez Turkish Restaurant, in Furtherwick Road, on Canvey, before leaving with a small amount of cash.

A witness to the incident said they were woken up by the sound of glass smashing at around 4am last Sunday.

After looking out of his window, he saw two men running away in the direction of Lionel Road.

Restaurant owner, Ali Deniz, said: “I don’t want to waste the police’s time but if the people responsible came to me and said sorry – maybe they were drunk or something – I will shake their hand and offer them lunch or dinner.”

He added: “It’s disappointing that this is happening on Canvey as it’s a beautiful town.

“I’m surprised and upset.

“My manager called me asking if I had seen that lots of people were trying to contact me to tell me about what had happened.

“I went down there straight away and saw the damage.

“I’m angry and annoyed but I actually feel sorry for them as they must be really desperate to do that.

“My neighbours upstairs heard it, they heard the three kicks.”

Mr Deniz spoke to some of the owners of neighbouring businesses and residents who he has a good relationship with.

He was able to access some CCTV which showed two males come towards the shop and kick the glass door, before one of them then climbed through to gain access to the popular restaurant.

After analysing his own CCTV, Mr Deniz witnessed the pair then smash up the tills, before escaping with some float money on the side which was in the region of £42.

Mr Deniz, from Basildon, added: “The door is all fixed now.

“People were even offering to help fix the door for free.

“There are beautiful people here, lots of people were trying to reach me when it happened.”

A spokesman for Essex Police, said: “We were called to reports of a door being damaged at a restaurant in Furtherwick Road, Canvey, at around 4.15am on November 17.

“It was reported two people were seen running from the area.

“If you saw anything, have any CCTV or dash cam footage, or have any other information please call us on 101 quoting incident 209 of November 17 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”