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Sketch pad stolen during break-in at Belfast honesty café returned following appeal

A sketch pad stolen during a break-in at The Dock Cafe in the Titanic Quarter area of Belfast has been returned to the business following an appeal
Marie Louise McConville and Siobhan Fenton

A sketch pad stolen during a break-in at a Belfast cafe has been returned.

The book was taken along with a projector and money from an honesty book - thought to be a few hundred pounds - when thieves targeted The Dock Cafe in the Titanic Quarter.

The cafe had been looking after the sketch book after a tourist accidentally left it behind during a visit.

The burglary was discovered early on Tuesday. As a result, the cafe was forced to delay opening up in a bid to allow police to investigate.

Chris Bennett, Chaplain of the Titanic Quarter, who helps with the coordination of the cafe, appealed on Tuesday for the sketch pad to be returned.

On Wednesday, Mr Bennett revealed on social media that the sketch book had been returned.

"I'm delighted to say the sketchbook has been returned to the cafe.

"We said that if they just returned it, we'd keep it anonymous, so I'll not go into the details of exactly how it was returned.

"I was optimistic that this might happen and yet I knew I was placing the ethos of the cafe on the line.

"We trust people, we believe in their honesty, that's the daily reality of the place and yet I know that I was taking a very big chance in hoping the notebook would be returned.

"It inspires me so much, that we are right to trust people. Honesty works as it says on our cafe wall."

Mr Bennett also revealed that since the incident, members of the public have been donating to the cafe, meaning they have also been able to recover the money also stolen during the robbery.

"People have been walking in with envelopes of donations and just handed them to us saying 'we heard about what happened and we wanted to give you this'.

"Someone else who saw the story started up a justgiving page and people have been giving donations on that. So, we've also got the money back."

He said that staff at the cafe feel no ill-will towards whoever was behind the theft.

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