October 29, 2020 4.22 pm This story is over 14 months old

Man charged with Lincoln tea room burglary

Owners in shock over heartless break-in

The owners of a tea room in Lincoln were left horrified by a break-in and nearly decided to close, but the support and kindness from their customers is helping them to carry on.

Lady Rose’s Edwardian Tea Room on Free School Lane was broken into at around 8.30pm on Tuesday, October 27.

The door pane was smashed in with glass everywhere, and vintage china cups and glassware damaged. The till containing £90 was taken and the overall cost of the damage done was around £500.

Alan Rhodes, 37, from Allness Close in Lincoln has been charged with an offence of burglary. He has been bailed to appear at Lincoln Magistrates Court on January 21, 2021.

Husband and wife Chris and Nicki Fairey, opened the tea room at the Assembly Rooms five years ago before moving to their current premises on Free School Lane 12 months later.

They were forced to cancel their bookings for Wednesday before reopening on Thursday.

Chris told The Lincolnite: “I got a text from a customer who saw it on their way to work the following morning (Wednesday).

“We were absolutely horrified. We live 12 miles out of Lincoln so were preparing to come to work with a sense of panic as to what state it was in, how much they’d damaged and what was taken.

“What really upset us most of all is we were fully booked for the first time and people were travelling from a fair distance for celebrations and we had to cancel the bookings due to awaiting repairs and with cleaning up to do, there was glass everywhere.”

Coronavirus has had a big impact on the business and the threat of closure remains. Measures are in place, including amended opening times and a bookings only system.

The couple also saw their application for funding from the Arts Council declined due to being a partnership and not a limited company, despite putting on entertainment such as musical events and poetry readings.

The kindness of customers and supporters has helped them through the pandemic. Their friends Jade and Dan Hadfield, set up a GoFundMe page after the incident and have so far raised over £800.

A 16-year-old girl who works doing the dishes for the tea room on Saturdays was keen to help clear up the damage and came in especially on Wednesday to support the owners.

Chris added: “Yesterday (Wednesday) we felt like throwing the towel in, but the kindness, love, support and encouragement we have received helps us to keep going.

“COVID-19 is ruining us. We’ve just about managed to break even since March, meeting the costs but we have not been able to reinvest or pay ourselves in that time.

“The support will help us going a bit longer and has persuaded us to carry on, but the threat of closure is still there. We love our customers to bits, they are not just customers, but friends and family.

“We don’t want to let them down, but my health is deteriorating and we can’t sustain things under these conditions forever, so this is continually under review.”

Meanwhile, the Christmas Carol event that runs every Sunday afternoon from the end of November until Christmas will still go ahead as planned.

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.