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City centre coffee shop hit by raiders twice in a week
Fed-up businessman Chris Miles is sleeping on the floor of his city centre shop after raiders twice smashed down his front door.
Family man Mr Miles, 33, has now put in extra security measures, and is staying on the premises because he cannot afford to close.
“It was my birthday today and my children had to ring me in the shop to say ‘Happy Birthday’,” he said yesterday.
Mr Miles opened the Refresh coffee shop, in Cheapside, Bradford, just eight weeks ago, but has had to spend hundreds of pounds replacing the front door after two attacks in a week.
The raiders escaped with bottles of pop and packets of crisps worth just a few pounds. He is hoping the culprits will be caught after capturing four suspects on CCTV.
Mr Miles used his savings and money from his family to invest £30,000 in refurbishing the building, which had been empty for 18 months.
He said: “I put everything I had into the business. Now I am scraping the barrel.
“I have been building up the business and getting regular customers.
“The building looked horrible before, but I have put tables and chairs outside and a new sign up, and it looks nice now. I have been getting people coming in from the railway station from York and Leeds.
“I have lived in Bradford for ten years and I thought it could do with some support, so I set up here. I have even got ‘Positive Bradford’ stickers in the window. Now I wish I had opened my business in Leeds or Halifax.
“I have worked seven days a week from 7am to 5pm to get the business going, and I just feel gutted.”
In the first incident, in the early hours of Monday, September 30, the front door was kicked in and the alarm went off. “They were only in the shop for ten seconds and grabbed what they could from the shelves – which was five packets of crisps. But it cost me £300 to replace the door.”
Mr Miles believes the same four suspects were responsible for the second raid, at 5am on Sunday, in which crisps and pop were stolen.
He said: “I was coming to work early. My wife, who helps me on Sunday morning, and my children, aged six and nine, were with me. My alarm was going off and the door was wide open. It was hanging off its hinges. I just wondered why I bothered.”
Mr Miles has now paid for a more secure door without a window, and a metal security gate.
“At the moment I am sleeping at the shop, which is not great for family life,” he said. “I have spent all the money I had so have no choice but to carry on.”
He says the four suspects caught on CCTV were wearing identical clothes on the two occasions.
Anyone with information about the raids should contact Bradford South CID, via 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.