A restaurant owner was left devastated after returning from a short holiday break to discover her premises stripped bare.
Shocked Samantha Trickett now faces closing restaurant Rendezvous immediately as a result of the burglary which is being investigated by police.
They’ve literally spent hours here and emptied the restaurant from top to bottom.Samantha Trickett
The raiders, who were seen spending hours loading up a van, even took the kitchen sink.
Now Samantha, who opened the restaurant in St Thomas’s Road, Chorley, nine months ago, can see no alternative other than to quit.
“I came back to find the whole restaurant had been emptied,” said Samantha, a single mum of three. “There’s nothing left in the kitchen - even the kitchen sink has gone. They’ve been here several hours and disconnected the gas and water. They’ve literally spent hours here and emptied the restaurant from top to bottom.”
Kent-born Samantha said neighbouring businesses broke the news, expressing their surprise as they thought she was moving out.”
Samantha, a member of the Bolton Family Church, had been on a three-day Christian retreat in Wales when the burglary took place.
“I walked in with the kids and couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was just absolutely sick to my stomach. I’ve reported it to the police.”
Aidan Blunt, of Gillibrand North, had booked a meal for 13 at the restaurant to celebrate his and his daughter’s birthday, only to turn up and find the place empty.
“It was frustrating,” he said. “At seven at night trying to find somewhere else for thirteen people.”
Samantha said the last 12 months had been a struggle for her. She said a champagne order fraud last June, which she reported to police, had left her “several thousand pounds out of pocket” after the drink supplier took her to court.
The post-Christmas and New Year period was slack and, after taking advice, she decided to wind the business down. She said: “I’ve incurred massive debts over the last year. I’ve taken a large amount of money on credit cards and loans in order to pay staff wages and suppliers.”
Then the burglary bombshell hit. However, she says her strong Christian faith is helping her to pull through.
Lots of people from her church have helped her to tidy the premises up and prayer meetings have been held at the restaurant. Samantha said she still has a dream to turn to site into a Christian coffee and book shop. Chorley Police said they were investigating a burglary at the premises and their inquiries were continuing.