Thief steals pot of tips from Hitchin café counter

A CCTV picture showing the man with the bowl of tips. Picture: Taste Buds

A CCTV picture showing the man with the bowl of tips. Picture: Taste Buds - Credit: Archant

A Hitchin café owner says it is “just very sad” that a thief came into her shop and stole a bowl of tips from the counter yesterday.

Charlotte Atkinson, owner of Taste Buds in Bancroft, told the Comet it happened as she was closing up at 4pm.

A man entered and asked her to check upstairs for millionaire’s shortbread, then swiped the bowl containing about £20 in tips while she turned her back to make him a hot chocolate.

“I’d closed the shop,” said Charlotte.

“He wanted a millionaire’s shortbread. I said we didn’t have any, and he asked if I could go look upstairs for it. I told him no, we didn’t have any upstairs.

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“I don’t like to think the worst of somebody. I said we could give him some cake if he liked, but we were closing so it would have to be takeaway.

“He said he didn’t want cake. I said if he went up the road to Simmons they’d probably be able to help him.

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“Then he asked for hot chocolate. I had already turned off the machine, but I said I would make him one if he wanted.

“I had my back turned, and he lifted up the pot with the tips and walked out.”

Charlotte described the thief as a man aged about 20, with bright blue eyes and scruffy black hair, wearing a black leather jacket. She has footage of him on the café’s CCTV, but acknowledges it unfortunately isn’t the best picture.

She said they would still be keeping the tips out on the counter, but would now be emptying the pot two or three times a day.

“You shouldn’t have to do that,” she said. “It’s just very, very sad.

“I’ve had customers come in since they found out about this, and they’ve come in just to put money in the girls’ tip pot.

“It is what it is at the end of the day. It can happen to anyone.”

Police said a man entered Taste Buds at about 3.45pm yesterday and took a bowl containing cash from the counter before leaving.

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting crime reference G1/18/1086, or contact officers through

Alternatively contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or Personal information cannot be recorded and you won’t need to go to court.

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