A Birmingham restaurant boss asked to shut on a busy Saturday night by police after a break in has spoken of his frustration.

The Pickled Piglet in Gas Street was targeted by a burglar who broke in three times in one night and made off with around £900 in cash.

But the venue, just off Broad Street, was told that forensic officers wouldn’t be able to come for more than 24 hours and that the crime scene should be kept ‘sterile’ for all that time.

As this would have meant closing during the busiest night of the week – and losing far more money than was stolen – the owners opened up.

But when police forensic evidence officers arrived they simply said they could do nothing because the restaurant had opened. The venue gave officers CCTV footage of the raider.

Mark Rafferty owner of The Pickled Piglet in Gas Street
Mark Rafferty owner of The Pickled Piglet in Gas Street
 

The Pickled Piglet was the targeted by the man in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The restaurant, which specialises in tapas and meat dishes, was opened in March last year by husband and wife team Mark and Chrissy Rafferty, and now has 15 staff.

Mr Rafferty told the Post: “The building is covered by 24/7 manned security and the back of it is inside a perimeter fence.

“He jumped over this fence, got down the side of the building and then forced open a window.

“He tried the till, realised there was nothing in there, and then the alarm went off so he damaged that before running off very quickly.

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“The man then came back a second time and kicked the office door in where he found a lot of petty cash, a till float and staff tips.

“He disappeared again before coming back a third time but I don’t think he took anything else on that occasion.

“Bizarrely, the burglar didn’t take anything material which was here such as drinks, the iPad or sound system.”

Mr Rafferty said the man was picked up by CCTV inside the restaurant and described him as about 5ft 6in, black or mixed race, small build and in his mid-30s.

After contacting the police, he was told to keep the restaurant closed for fear of damaging evidence and book an appointment for officers to visit on Sunday.

“I just decided to crack on and tidy it up myself Saturday morning so we could open for business on in the afternoon,” Mr Rafferty added.

“I would have lost far more than was taken by staying closed until the police had been round on Sunday.”

He was later told by police that there was nothing they could do as evidence had been contaminated or destroyed during the clean up and was given a reference for future use in case other premises were targeted by the same man. Mr Rafferty said he believed officers should have capacity to get to businesses sooner for forensic evidence to prevent them losing money.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police confirmed: “Police received a call just before 10.30am on Saturday morning saying that the restaurant had been broken into overnight, sometime after 3.30am. Offenders forced open a ground floor window and made off with a quantity of cash.”

In spite of repeated requests police were unable to comment on the forensic examination delay.

Anyone with information on the raid is asked to call West Midlands Police on 101.

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