Belfast Telegraph

Stolen sketchbook returned to Belfast honesty cafe after appeal

By Michael Sheils McNamee

A sketchbook taken as part of a burglary on an honesty cafe in Belfast, where patrons pay what they want for the food and drink, has been recovered.

On Monday night a break-in at Christian-run The DOCK cafe situated in the city's Titanic Quarter saw money stolen from its honesty box, which amounted to a few hundred pounds and had been left in a safe, as well as a projector.

Chris Bennett - the Chaplain for the Titanic Quarter who helps with the coordination of the cafe - told the Belfast Telegraph that in the safe, along with the money, there was a sketchbook which had been left in the cafe by a patron.

The sketchbook contained personal pictures and drawings.

The story, first reported on the Belfast Telegraph on Tuesday, was shared widely on social media in a push to recover the sketchbook, and on Wednesday morning Chris appeared on the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme to talk about the notebook as part of Thought for the Day.

On Wednesday afternoon, the sketchbook was returned to the cafe.

Chris said that he had been overwhelmed by the generosity since the news of the robbery emerged.

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Chris Bennett Credit: Chris Bennett/ The Dock

"People have actually just walked into the cafe today and given a donation," he said.

"I think we are more inspired through the honest and decency of people.

"It has been just such an amazing day to be here in the cafe and realise that there are just so many good people in the world. It just makes you realise that is the more common thing, to find goodness."

Chris declined to share how the notebook came back into their possession, seeing as the person had been promised anonymity if it was returned, but said that he had "no clue" how they had come to hear about the sketchbook.

The sketchbook is now in the post on its way back to its original owner.

“When people see something like an honesty cafe they want it to work,” Chris added. “When they see an idea of something like this they want to live in a world where it is a success when it comes to the crunch.”

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