Belfast Telegraph

Belfast 'honesty cafe' asks for sketchbook return after break-in

By Michael Sheils McNamee

A Belfast non-profit 'honesty cafe', which allows customers to pay what they want for the food and drink on offer, has been hit by thieves.

The Christian-run DOCK Cafe, situated in the city's Titanic Quarter, was required to push back its opening on Tuesday morning to allow the PSNI to carry out an inspection of the burgled property.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Chris Bennett - the Chaplain for the Titanic Quarter who helps with the coordination of the cafe - said that the thieves had made off with the money from Monday placed in the honesty box, around a few hundred pounds, as well as taking a projector that was left in the back office.

The one thing taken in the break-in that Mr Bennett hopes to get back was a sketchbook in the safe that had been collected after a patron left it behind in the cafe.

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Chris Bennett Credit: Chris Bennett/ The Dock

"It was full of personal drawings," he said. "And he was heartbroken when he thought he had lost it, and he was over the moon when we were able to contact him and tell him it had turned up."

"Now we'll have to contact him again and tell him it has been taken."

Asked if they had a message to send to the thieves, Chris said: "We would just really ask that they return the sketch book, and if they find that it makes them feel better, they may find how much better it is to be honest and to treat people well, and how much more fun that is than looking out for yourself."

We was robbed!... Dock Cafe had a break-in last night and will be a bit late opening this morning while we wait for CSI...

Posted by The DOCK Cafe on Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It is believed that the burglars were wearing gloves and it is unsure whether police will be able to trace them using fingerprint identification.

The cafe has been open for five and a half years and this is the first time that such a break-in has taken place.

"I think it almost makes you more determined when you believe the best in people," Mr Bennett said.

"Obviously there are people who let you down, even in the day-to-day life with the honesty box. But that just makes you more determined.

"That is that those kind of people are not going to win and we are not going to stop doing what we’re doing."

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