Restaurant site is hit by thieves

PUBLISHED: 12:45 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:11 06 May 2010

The site of the new Gaffneys restaurant

The site of the new Gaffneys restaurant

A NEW restaurant which controversially applied for a late alcohol license earlier this year has been damaged during a mystery theft. Raiders broke into the site of Gaffneys Restaurant in St Neots Road, Sandy, and stripped out thousands of pounds worth of

A NEW restaurant which controversially applied for a late alcohol license earlier this year has been damaged during a mystery theft.

Raiders broke into the site of Gaffneys Restaurant in St Neots Road, Sandy, and stripped out thousands of pounds worth of electrical cables.

Only recently local residents had formed a protest group objecting to an application for an early and late alcohol license which was later granted by Mid Beds District Council.

But within days of the licenCe being given, the building, which has undergone a £400,000 renovation and is due to open to the public on December 2, was broken into and wiring stolen and damage done to the walls.

It took three days for building contractors to replace the wiring and repair the damage but restaurant owner Martin Burnside said the theft and attack on his property will not delay the opening date.

He also denied the theft and damage was in any way a revenge attack against his restaurant by any of his opponents.

In an attempt to prevent another attack on the building, a security system has now been installed and he has hired a security company to patrol the site at night.

"Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to the building and equipment and whoever did this could have got only a small amount of money for the cables," said Mr Burnside.

"We were celebrating a fantastic result by getting our licences then this happened. I don't think all the talk surrounding the restaurant and the theft are connected.

"The theft took three days to repair and we had people working hard to complete the repairs. Whoever got on to the site just ripped the cables from the walls. There is better security on the site now and we will open as predicted to the public on December 2 after a special opening night the day before.

"It is all very upsetting but we are not letting it get in the way of our plans to open what will be a fantastic restaurant and bring job opportunities to the local community."

Mr Burnside said fears by local residents that Gaffneys would encourage late night drinking and drunkenness are unfounded.

"I can promise those who fear there might be problems of drunks on the streets it will just not happen," added Mr Burnside.

"We will be a respectable business in the community and wanting to serve alcohol early will mean anyone who has a business meeting or has a special breakfast can have a glass of champagne.

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