Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - NATHAN BE­VAN Re­porter­van@waleson­

A COF­FEE shop chain has an­nounced it will no longer take cash from cus­tomers af­ter a spate of re­peat night­time bur­glar­ies. Coffi Co has seen both its Cardiff Bay branches bro­ken into twice in the last month, de­spite there be­ing no money left on the premises overnight.

And its own­ers say they’re re­sort­ing to ac­cept­ing cards only from now on in case the same brazen thieves, fed up with their fail­ure to score, re­sort to try­ing to rob their em­ploy­ees dur­ing the day in­stead.

The gang, who al­ways strike shortly af­ter staff have locked up and gone home, smash their way into the premises via the all-glass frontage and grab any­thing that isn’t nailed down.

“It’s very frus­trat­ing be­cause there’s no money kept in the tills overnight, or in the safe, so they usu­ally leave with noth­ing more than the con­tents of the tip jar,” said owner Justin Carty, 44.

“So, just like those tran­sit van bumper stick­ers which say ‘no tools kept on board overnight’, I want to get across the mes­sage there’s no point in keep­ing on try­ing to bur­gle us.

“You’re not go­ing to get any money – all you’re do­ing is land­ing us with one glazer’s bill af­ter an­other.

“And, with the new ‘cards only’ pol­icy, we’re just mak­ing sure that these same peo­ple don’t get the bright idea of strik­ing dur­ing open­ing hours.”

The stores which keep get­ting hit are in the bay area’s Porth Teigr – where it’s part of a small ter­race of shops con­verted from old ship­ping con­tain­ers – and on the ground floor of the Bayscape apart­ment build­ing in the Ma­rina.

“Bayscape is our big­gest and most re­cent branch, with big floor to ceil­ing win­dows to max­imise the lovely views across the wa­ter,” added Justin, who, af­ter four years in busi­ness, has other Coffi Co premises in Mer­maid Quay and Cathays in Cardiff, and in Porth­cawl.

“Be­cause, ul­ti­mately, we’re all about sell­ing our cus­tomers an ex­pe­ri­ence – so, while brick­ing up the store front and putting in smaller win­dows would add se­cu­rity, who’s go­ing to want to sit and sip in what feels more like a prison.

“In any case, we’ve now put tough- ened anti-van­dal glass in the bar­rage branch. But, if they come back and again try putting the win­dow through with one of our out­side benches, then we’re still go­ing to have to fork out to have it all re­placed.”

He added that, judg­ing from the in­store CCTV footage, it’s the same gang do­ing the break-ins each time.

“Oh it’s def­i­nitely the same blokes – they aren’t young kids ei­ther.

“They smash their way in, wear­ing hood­ies pulled tight over their faces and go straight to the tills – and when they get no joy with them they try to find the safe.

“Each raid has lasted barely 10 to 15 sec­onds and I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only busi­ness which has been done over like this in this part of Cardiff re­cently.”

South Wales Po­lice have been con­tacted for com­ment.

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