THE owner of a popular café in the Mourne Mountains has spoken of her frustration after thieves targeted her business for the second time in months.
Carrick Cottage café in Annalong is well-known to hikers in the area as a place to enjoy coffee surrounded by stunning scenery.
Speaking to The Outlook newspaper, Rachael Harrison said that significant damage had been caused by the latest break in just weeks away from Christmas.
“I am saddened by what has happened, the issue is businesses are going through enough and we have had enough with rises in prices, electric and bills and then we have all that added cost,” she said.
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“It’s just the callousness of the act. It’s the fact that it’s a repeat and that is the thing that is bothering me.
“It is just distressing now for people who are struggling in business. We are trying to stay open in difficult circumstances and then we are getting raided or burgled. That’s disheartening.”
A small amount of money was taken from the cash float while around £80 was also taken from a charity box that was raising money for the Mourne Mountain Rescue Team.
“For such little money, they have made such a big effort to smash things up. They smashed the till in badness, they took the small amount and then smashed it.”
Closed during weekdays in the winter months, Ms Harrison had discovered the damage on Friday.
Rather than lose trade, she decided to open up to customers and secure the window with safety glass.
“It’s just disheartening because the first time it happened a few months ago, and we fixed the glass and replaced the till and the same thing has happened again.”
Forensic officers have since attended the scene and concluded that more than one person is responsible, with any witnesses urged to come forward.
Ms Harrison has now called on other businesses in the area to increase their vigilance.
“I will say for people to be very careful because there are some people out there stealing and I would want to support other businesses and see it doesn’t happen to them.”