A fund of £2,500 has been set up to catch him. Can you help?
A high number of Manchester city centre bars and pubs are being hit by a lone villain. A reward of £2,500 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.
“Almost 20 city centre businesses have been attacked in the last two or three weeks,” says Mark West of The Briton’s Protection on Great Bridgewater Street. “We’ve been hit three times. This man cycles to venues, fully tooled-up, angle-grinder, crowbars, hammers, the works. He has a typical pattern of behaviour as well, cutting the alarms and then returning back.”
I’m worried about the determination of this man. It won’t be too long before somebody gets hurt
The criminal cuts the alarm cables, or smashes alarm hard drives. He blows fuses. He then leaves and waits. The security companies hired by the venues check either remotely, or directly, to see if there is an active break-in. There isn't as the man is bidding his time. When things have quietened down, the thief returns and ransacks whatever he can to find cash or items he can sell.
Venues attacked include the Eagle Bar, The Town Hall Tavern, The White Lion, The Edinburgh Castle, Roxy Ball Room and many others. As the spread of these businesses reveals, the attacks are taking place across the city centre.
“He broke into the upper rooms of the pub where we had a member of staff sleeping,” says West. “I’m worried about the determination of this man and the potential weapons he carries. It won’t be too long before somebody gets hurt. At the same time he’s harming Manchester’s heritage. My pub is 200 years old.
“A lot of his targets are independent business,” continues West. “They’re feeling vulnerable. And this is the prime time of year for bars and pubs in terms of getting in vital cash. His actions are potentially physically dangerous to the people who live and work in the premises and might put people out of business with the loss of jobs and livelihoods.’
Rose Wong of The White Lion agrees: “You feel uneasy all the time. I’ve had jewellery and personal items stolen that I’ll never get back. I’ve had my credit cards stolen and we've had some takings stolen as well. This hits us hard, I have to pay the wages and other costs.”
The villain also stole thousands of pounds of charity money from the Eagle pub in The Village after a fund-raising event. A subsequent event replaced the money, but again, it’s a big inconvenience and worry at this sensitive time.
The man is thin, seems to wear a cigarette hanging from his lips, sports a wispy beard, a trademark baseball cap, arrives on a bike and has a big bag of tools. He always attacks in the same range of early morning hours. Given this, bar and pub managers and owners are wondering why he hasn’t been caught. The police are saying they are aware the robberies and break-ins may be linked.
Self-help was needed, so the network of Manchester bars and pubs have been passing on word of the threat. A fund of £2,500 has been set up to catch this tenacious and brazen thief. Surely, it’s only a matter of time, the sooner the better, but meanwhile, if any one else sees this man, contact the police on 0161 856 3221.