RAIDS FORCE SHOP TO GO CASHLESS
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.