Northern Quarter restaurant boss ‘heartbroken’ after burglars break-in and steal till

The owners of a popular Chinese restaurant have said they are “heartbroken” following another break-in at the restaurant on Friday night. Sweet Mandarin in the Northern Quarter was broken into in the early hours of Friday morning by burglars who stole the restaurant’s till, holding all the night’s takings and salaries.

A neighbouring business owner found the smashed till in a flowerbed nearby, and It is hoped that this may help police trace down those behind the burglary. The restaurant, which opened in 2004 – and won the title of the nation’s best local Chinese restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s F Word – has been broken into six times over the last three years.

Speaking to the MEN following the burglary, owner Helen Tse said: “It’s been heartbreaking because we are only just getting back on our feet after Covid. With the rise in utilities, staffing and stock this is the last thing you need.

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“The reason we cannot put shutters on the outside is because the planning permission forbids it. We will look at security on the inside.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support of our customers and Instagram followers who have sent so many messages of support and love. This type of burglar is very experienced and managed to pop the beads in the window and push the entire glass pane out.

Helen is also contemplating putting up a sign saying ‘no cash and no alcohol’ on the door, a measure they have resorted to in the past. Following the incident, the restaurant took to social media to share CCTV footage of the burglary. They said: “This is not a faceless crime, We are a family business serving the local community.

Sweet Mandarin’s neighbours found the smashed-up till in a flowerbed nearby

“We have huge bills to pay as it’s month end. They just took the till and it’s heartbreaking.

“It is time to stand up to these perpetrators. Please share names with us privately.”

Following the discovery of the till, the owners of Sweet Mandarin also expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the local community, writing: “May we just pause from this crazy day to say a massive thanks for the love and kind messages which have spurred us on. Seeing some of you tonight made me forget the pain of being broken into again and again.

Helen and Lisa Tse, Restauranteurs, Sweet Mandarin

“I feel so helpless and not quite hopeless but it’s harder every time to turn on the woks when something like this happens.”

They also shared that Greater Manchester Police had not found any prints but did find a glove and footprints, which are being examined. “I just wanted to say thank you very much to you all for your messages. It has given me heart to continue.

“We’ve been going for 20 years even before the @nqmanchester became a thing. Perhaps we may continue another 20 years more.”

Greater Manchester Police have been approached for more information.

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