Gary Rhodes restaurant targeted again
Police believe some £8,000 – including almost £1,000 in staff tips – has been stolen during a burglary at a celebrity chef's restaurant.
The burglars are believed to have broken into TV chef Gary Rhodes' new restaurant, called Rhodes at the Dome, on The Hoe at Plymouth, some time between midnight on Sunday and 7am on Monday, and dug out a digital safe from a wall before making off.
The Dome, a former tourist attraction which had previously stood empty since it closed in 2006, occupies a prominent position overlooking Plymouth Sound.
A police spokesman said the restaurant was closed at midnight, but a cleaner who arrived at about 3am later noticed a rear door had been opened.
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The spokesman said it was possible the burglars were in the property when the cleaner arrived but there was no hard evidence to clarify the suggestion.
The spokesman said: "The Cathedral Products digital safe contained around £8,000 in cash of which around £1,000 were tips belonging to staff.
"The amount was large because the money had been collected over the weekend and was set to be banked on the Monday. It is possible the burglars were aware of this and so chose the early hours of Monday to target the isolated property."
There was no sign of forced entry and it is understood the suspects left the building via a rear door and through a courtyard area.
The spokesman said: "We are keen to hear from anyone who may have been in the area of the restaurant between midnight and 7am on Monday and saw any suspicious activity along either Hoe Road or up on the Hoe itself."
The £1.5 million restaurant venture, which Mr Rhodes, a former head chef at the Castle Hotel, in Taunton, opened earlier this year, had already suffered a setback when it was targeted by thieves before its initial opening night.
The restaurant, which opened in January, had been scheduled to open last November, but plans had to be postponed when metal thieves attacked the building, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage as they ripped off lead flashing from the roof and stole valuable copper piping.
The crime delayed a huge building project, but the work was eventually completed by the beginning of the year, with large picture windows created from the solid block walls.
The venue is Mr Rhodes' only restaurant outside London.