Thieves 'use bibles' to break into Telford church-turned restaurant on its sixth anniversary
The owner of a Telford family restaurant based in an old church said she is 'heartbroken' after it was targeted by thieves this week.
Restaurant 1840 in Dawley had been celebrating its sixth anniversary on Tuesday, but when owner Jelly Tench came in the following morning, she found windows smashed and food strewn across the floor of her business, which had been 'gutted' by thieves.
She said: "Anything that they haven't stolen has been destroyed. They have been ruthless. Everything has been gutted.
"They targeted the kitchen mainly and have taken almost everything they could. There was a large volume of spirits and wine gone, but they even emptied the fridge and took ox heart and some tongue - I'd be amazed if they would even know how to cook it.
"They even took my mum's oat milk that she has in her coffee in the morning."
Ms Tench has been running the Stirchley Lane business for the last two years with her mother and their chef. The restaurant is located in a former Methodist church in Dawley and retains much of the building's original features.
And the restaurateur said the thieves even used bibles from the former church to break into the kitchen.
She said: "They used the bibles as knee-pads so they could smash the window," she said. "I have been running the restaurant for the last two years but the restaurant had been open six years to the day that we were broken into - some anniversary!"
She said Restaurant 1840 would remain closed on Thursday following the break-in, but she hoped to reopen before the weekend.
"We are still sorting through the mess but we hope to reopen on Friday," she said.
She believed the restaurant was broken into between 1am and 4am on Wednesday, and that forensic officers had visited after she reported the break-in to police.
She added that while she has been left 'heartbroken' by the raid, the local community had been very supportive.
She said: "Please, if anyone has CCTV in the area or noticed anything suspicious, please get in touch. There will also be some fairly unique bottles of wines on sale soon in large volume in the area so if anyone sees any, please let us know."
West Mercia Police has been approached for comment.