A THIEF used a lump of concrete to smash his way into a restaurant in Leigh.

The Popular Retreat, in Broadway West, was broken into yesterday morning.

CCTV images, recorded by the restaurant’s system, show a shadowy figure looking around the premises by the flickering light of a lighter.

The thief left stock and the safe untouched, but forced open the till to steal cash.

Manager Dave Clarke, 34, said: “He took all the coins from the till bar the 1ps, it was only worth £100. But there is a lot of damage to our front window, which will cost about £200 to replace.

“From the CCTV we can see him using a lump of concrete the size of a head with a sharp point on it.

“He then used ‘haymaker’ punches to put it through the window at the bottom and got inside.

“We can see a shadow checking out the place before going to the till. We’re lucky he didn’t take any stock;our wine and champagne, or try the safe.”

The burglary happened at about 3.15am and was reported later on by a woman who was out to buy her morning papers. The Popular Retreat has been open in its present form for just six months, selling modern British cuisine from its premises opposite Leigh Library Gardens.

Mr Clarke is keen to warn other businesses in the area.

He said: “These things tend to happen in a spate, so I want to warn fellow traders to be extra vigilant. We don’t want others to suffer.

“We’ll live and learn from this and take extra security measures and want others to do the same.”

He also appealed for any witnesses to contact police, who are investigating, on 101.