'It couldn't have happened at a worse time' - owner devastated after diner ransacked by thieves
PUBLISHED: 15:07 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:54 14 August 2019
The owner of an American diner has described her devastation after the restaurant was ransacked by thieves.
Hollywood Diner in Hemsby was broken into between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Owner of the diner, Joanne Carlton, said thousands of pounds had been stolen from the premises after criminals cut a section of the safe out.
"I'm gutted," Mrs Carlton said.
"We have put everything we have into the business so it really is upsetting.
"It couldn't have happened at a worse time because we're only open for a few months of the year."
Mrs Carlton, who owns the business with her husband Kevin, was called by cleaners at the diner on Monday morning to tell her about the break in.
She said: "My first thought was everything would be okay because the money was in the safe.
"But because the thieves had equipment they were able to cut an area of the safe out and smashed the cash till to pieces.
"They certainly knew what they were doing."
The diner offered a reduced service to customers on Monday but the eatery is now fully open.
A spokesman for Norfolk Police confirmed officers are investigating the incident which happened between 9.30pm on Sunday, August 11 and 6.30am on Monday, August 12.
The 47-year-old, who has owned the diner for 12 years, thanked her customers for their patience.
She said: "Everyone has been so understanding about the situation.
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"Although the reduced service has not been ideal it was better than being closed."
The restaurant in Beach Road has an extensive menu with customers being able to choose from a variety of American favourites from burgers to pancakes.
The diner's dessert offering includes homemade ice cream.
"The diner has really grown in popularity over the years," Mrs Carlton said.
"We're a family run business which makes the whole incident more difficult to take.
"I'm just glad it hasn't taken us too long to get back up and running."
The diner is open seven days a week from Easter until the end of October.
Anyone with information on the burglary should contact Norfolk Police on 101 quoting 36/56052/19.