An award-winning Coleraine businesswoman has expressed her disgust after thieves battered in a door at her town centre hairdressing salon to steal staff wages.
Andrea McAleese - who is the driving force behind the Angel of Hope memorial garden campaign - has appealed to the public to help police catch the culprits.
Andrea opened her Romaya salon last Monday morning to find that a door had been damaged and £500 in cash and a brand new laptop stolen.
“It caused us a lot of disruption as we had to close the salon for the day to get a new door fitted. The thieves busted in and took the money and also a white XP Pavillion laptop.
“I would ask that anyone who is offered it for sale should contact the police as it’s stolen goods.”
Andrea is in her tenth year in business and it’s the first time that her salon has been targeted.
She employs five staff and the salon has won a number of awards over the years.
She said: “It’s hard enough to run a business these days without things like this happening.”
Fortunately a bucket of money for the Angel of Hope project was left untouched.
“It was sitting here on the counter,” revealed Andrea. “Maybe the missed it or maybe their conscience got the better of them.”
Coleraine Borough Council agreed to lease land, situated just in front of Cloonavin, for the memorial garden, at a recent meeting.
Andrea, whose little daughter Roma, was knocked down and killed near her home at Ashdale Park in Coleraine in March 2009, had made a personal appeal to councillors.
“We have managed to raise £47,000 this year for the garden - people have been so, so kind.
“The papers are now with the solicitors and after that it will go to architects for proper drawings to be made.
“My hope is that if we can push it, the garden will be open next summer.”
A police spokesperson confirmed that police are investigating a burglary at a business premises in the Society Street area of Coleraine.
She added: “The burglary was reported to police on Monday, December 8 and is thought to have happened sometime across the previous weekend. A laptop and a sum of cash are thought to have been taken.”