A LEIGH restaurant owner has been left furious after being hit by an alleged dine and dash incident and a break-in just hours apart.

The No1 Cockleshed, in Old Leigh, was targeted in the early hours of Monday morning when a crook ripped the restaurant’s fron door off its hinges.

After breaking-in, the thief attempted to steal from the till.

However it was empty.

Just hours earlier, owner Chris Spacklen claims a “family fled the restaurant after racking up a £180 bill”.

The incidents came just hours after the hugely successful Old Leigh Shanty Festival and Chris said the incidents “put a dampener” on a great weekend.

Mr Spacklen has spent the time repairing the door by hand and have vowed not to let the incident keep the restaurant down.

He said: “It’s so unfortunate this happened really. A man broke in and went straight for the till and he didn’t take anything despite being surrounded by expensive champagne bottles.

“We keep no cash in that till which is what has made this whole situation so annoying. This was done entirely for no reason really.

“It took about 30 seconds for us to tally up the damage that had been caused and it could have had a massive financial hit if we weren’t so good with our hands. We have put the door back up.

“When we found it has been ripped of the hinges and discarded on the floor, we needed to upgrade it regardless.”

Mr Spacklen said the alleged dine and dash incident was “more infuriating”.

“The walk-out happened when our staff were tied up, they racked up a nice bill, a range of dishes including tapas and drinks,” he said.

“It was incredibly well organised, they took advantage of our staff. The entire effort was organised. I think the entire family were involved.

“This series of events is just infuriating and brought a shadow over what was a really good weekend with the shanty festival and the boost in trade for the area.”