A Heath and Reach pub is counting the cost of “pathetic” burglars who broke in to the premises as people slept upstairs.
The intruders raided The Duke’s in Leighton Road just after 4am on Thursday to the dismay of owner Sarah Smith.
The pub has forwarded 20 minutes of CCTV footage to the police which shows the quartet approaching the building and then stealing float money, a small amount of drinks and an unused safe – although they did leave behind the contents of a charity box.
Sarah said: “They were here for about 20 minutes and we had five cameras on them.
“They arrived in a car from the A5 direction and pulled up in a nearby road.
“They took a small amount of change which was the float for the next day. They picked up the KidsOut charity box and gave it a shake and left it. There are never any takings left on the premises.
“They also took a safe which has been here since we took over, but it’s locked and I don’t know what was in it. They also took a small amount of drinks.
“We didn’t realise until later the next evening that they’d taken the master key for all the rooms so had to call out an emergency locksmith. We’ve had to put new locks on the doors and have a door repaired.”
She added: “The chef was asleep upstairs so would have heard them if they were noisy.
“All my six holiday lettings were full of guests too and the car park was full so they would have known there were people here.
“In terms of what they got and what it’s cost me to replace the locks, was it worth it for the risk they took?
“It’s cost me nearly £1,000 and they would have had £25 each perhaps and a few drinks. It’s pathetic.”
Sarah and sister Jo Carter opened The Dukes in April 2016. It had been lying derelict since the restaurant on the site closed in 2014.
They have since purchased the freehold for their pub, restaurant and B&B and brought the Grade II-listed building back to life.
They used their own capital to fully refurbish the building, and were helped by the local community who donated their time to help restore the 18th century former church.
A Beds Police spokesman said: “We received reports of a burglary at a public house in Leighton Road, Heath and Reach, in the early hours of Thursday (7 September) morning.
“At around 4.20am four men forced entry to the building and stole cash and alcohol from inside the premises.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact police 101 quoting reference number JD/38166/2017. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“We understand that unfortunately sometimes CCTV quality can be poor however often people can be identified from distinctive clothing or posture. We would encourage members of the public to always submit CCTV to us where they believe someone who knew the offender would be able to identify them from the image or footage.”