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Burglar targets Bliss Tea Rooms in Walderslade Village

By Rachel Dixon

A man smashed through the front door of a tea room, stole £250 and three charity boxes full of donations.

Footage picked up by Bliss Tea Rooms' CCTV shows a man attempting to break into the shop in Walderslade Village at 3.30am today. It was captured shortly before the front door was targeted.

Owner Shirley Bliss said: "We are absolutely gutted and saddened.

"It’s like our second home to us."

She was notified about the break-in by staff at the Golden Dragon Chinese takeaway in the same parade of shops.

Mrs Bliss said: "They called me this morning and told me I needed to get there, there's trouble.

"So I went down and someone had kicked my door panel in and crawled through.

A burglar smashed through the front of Bliss Tearoom and crawled in. In Walderslade Village. (8576345)
A burglar smashed through the front of Bliss Tearoom and crawled in. In Walderslade Village. (8576345)

"They stole £250 from my till, threw all my stuff around and rummaged through all the drawers looking for money.

"The worst is they've stolen three charity boxes, for the Heart Foundation, Marie Curie and then one was a collection for my friend who is running the London Marathon.

"She was collecting for the Alzheimer's Society for her dad, so I'm gutted for her.

Shirley Bliss is the owner of Bliss Tea Rooms in Walderslade Village (8574867)
Shirley Bliss is the owner of Bliss Tea Rooms in Walderslade Village (8574867)

"These people who break in are just so selfish.

"What worries me is when the fish and chip shop was broken into, they were targeted again a week after.

"But that's not happening to me - I'm going to get an alarm system so no one can break in."

The crime comes after a spate of burglaries in Walderslade village.

On February 27 four shops in the parade were broken into, leaving three shop fronts damaged.

Mrs Bliss and the other shopkeepers are planning to campaign to Medway Council for more security.

She said: "I invited our MP Tracey Crouch's secretary out to discuss some more security for the shops.

Shirley Bliss is also running a campaign to extend the parking hours outside Bliss Tea Rooms in Walderslade Village (8574875)
Shirley Bliss is also running a campaign to extend the parking hours outside Bliss Tea Rooms in Walderslade Village (8574875)

"There is no CCTV in Walderslade and I think it would be cheaper than forking out for a policeman.

"We only have our own private CCTV and I think we need some more protection.

"I think we've had about seven break-ins in the last four months."

Parking is now 90 minutes instead of one hour in Walderslade Village (8576347)
Parking is now 90 minutes instead of one hour in Walderslade Village (8576347)

However, every cloud has its silver lining as today the staff from Bliss Tea Rooms noticed their parking campaign had been a success.

Since August the team have implored Medway Council to extend parking times for customers.

When standing outside the tea room waiting for the police, Mrs Bliss noticed the parking time had been increased by half an hour.

She added: "I'm really pleased about that. It's been a weird day, there was good news and bad news.

"It was a real rollercoaster of emotions."

Bliss Tea Rooms will be closed tomorrow so Mrs Bliss and the team can clean the inside.

She added: "I'm going to have a really deep clean and wipe any trace of their mucky little paws off my shop."

The tea room will reopen again on Tuesday.

Police are investigating and have asked witnesses or anyone with information to contact them on 01634 792209 giving reference 14-0744.

Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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