Support pours in for Warwick tea rooms after break-in

Jo Hobbs outside the Thomas Oken tea roms with the broken window pane.
Jo Hobbs outside the Thomas Oken tea roms with the broken window pane.

The owner of a popular tea room in Warwick has been overwhelmed by the amount of support she had from the community after a break-in.

Last Saturday (August 26) there was an attempted break-in at the Thomas Oken Tea Rooms on Castle Street.

The building was constructed more than 500 years ago by Thomas Oken.

Jo Hobbs, who has owned the business for coming up to seven years, was called by the alarm company at around 1am.

She said: “I received a call at around 1am telling me that the burglar alarm was going off. I went down on my own and saw that a whole window pane was missing and thought they had taken it. Having to enter the tea rooms in the pitch black and not knowing if an intruder may still be lurking inside was a frightening experience.

“Apparently, it was a bunch of kids just messing around – they gained entry, but were probably scared off by the alarm and the old suit of armour sitting in the corner. I also heard that St Nicholas Park tea rooms were also broken into but they had something taken.”

After finding nothing was taken, Jo took to social media in the hopes that the window had been left somewhere nearby.

She said: “The police suggested I send out an appeal for people to keep their eye out for the missing window pane – not only is it old and valuable because Oken’s House is a listed building, but it may have useful fingerprints on it.

“So I posted on Twitter and Facebook and to date, the Facebook post has been shared over 100 times and seen by over 14,000 people.”

Jo was overwhelmed by the support members of the community both online and in person and the window was later found.

Jo said: “The police have some CCTV, fingerprints and a footprint and so I am hopeful they will find out who did this,

“The response was amazing and people have been so supportive. We had so many lovely comments about the tea rooms and messages of support, even from Canada. Not only that, so many people – neighbours, customers, other business owners – have gone out of their way to check up on us and make sure we’re okay.

“It has turned what was a horrible experience into a truly positive and uplifting one. A lovely lady found the window pane dumped in a tree next to the entrance to Warwick Castle and brought it into us the day after the incident – we don’t even know her name.

“So many thanks to her, the police and to the hundreds of others of you who have made us feel cherished and cared for.

“Warwick is truly a lovely place to live and work.”

A spokesperson from Warwickshire Police said: “Police are investigating two reports of cafes being broken into in the early hours of Saturday morning (26 August).

“Unknown offender or offenders are reported to have broken a window to gain access to a cafe in St Nicholas Park at around 1.05am, taking three cash tills from inside that were believed to be empty, with the tills later being found disguarded and damaged close to the tennis courts.

“The second incident occured sometime between 1am and 1.30am, when unknown offender or offenders broke a window to gain entry to a cafe on Castle Street.

“A lead framed window is believed to have been taken by the offenders as they left, with no other items being reported stolen.

“Police are remaining open minded as to whether the incidents are linked, and are appealing to members of the public to contact them if they saw any suspicious behaviour in the areas and times described above.

“If you have information, please call Warwickshire Police on 101 and quote incident number 28 of 26 August for St Nicholas Park, or incident 33 of 28 August for Castle Street.

“Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org“.