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Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden “stunned” at theft of safe containing £1,200 in takings and staff tips

The hole in the wall cut by thieves who stole a safe from Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden on Halloween. Picture: Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

The hole in the wall cut by thieves who stole a safe from Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden on Halloween. Picture: Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

Archant

Staff tips and takings of more than £1,000 have been stolen from a community wildlife garden the night of their Halloween fundraiser after thieves cut through a wall to steal a metal safe.

The hole in the wall cut by thieves who stole a safe from Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden on Halloween. Picture: Fairhaven Woodland and Water GardenThe hole in the wall cut by thieves who stole a safe from Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden on Halloween. Picture: Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden

Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden was holding its Halloween fundraiser on October 31, including a band, bar and food. The event was their fund raiser to bring in enough money to last through the winter months.

The team locked up shortly after 9m, leaving the night’s taking’s, and staff tips, in the night safe disguised inside a cupboard.

But when they returned the next morning, they found a hole had been cut in the wall and the safe stolen, with all the money inside.

“It was clearly someone who knows us, which is a really horrible feeling,” said manager Louise Rout.

“I was absolutely stunned.

“They had spent some time planning it and they knew exactly where the safe was. Very few people know where our safe is because we are quite vigilant about it. They were careful and managed to avoid the phone lines, and took the entire safe away. It included all the staff Christmas tips. That is not our business, it is people they are affecting there.”

It is estimated around £1,200 was taken, but Ms Rout said while losing the money was inconvenient, “the betrayal is worse”.

“They must have brought power tools and equipment with them,” she said.

“It is quite a heavy duty safe and takes two people to lift when it is empty. They specifically came that night because they were expecting a lot more money. It is not very nice to think we were being watched.

“We are a small business and a small community here,a and we feel trampled on really.”

The business is now reluctantly installing more CCTV, as the existing security system had been bypassed.

“They didn’t even set the alarm off because they came through the wall behind the cupboard,” added Ms Rout. “As far as the sensors were concerned nobody was in the room. The safe was disguised in a cupboard so it wasn’t obvious where it was.”

A spokeswoman for Norfolk Police said: “Suspects have stolen a safe which contained hundreds of pounds. It looks as though someone has cut through the wall with a chainsaw or something similar and removed the safe from a cupboard.”

Anyone with any information should contact Norfolk Police on 101.

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