Portsmouth cafe's 'wanted' poster gets stolen blankets returned within hours

A WANTED poster put up online after a theft from a cafe saw the stolen goods returned in a matter of hours.

Friday, 10th January 2020, 4:15 pm
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 8:02 pm

Parade Tea Rooms in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, had two blankets stolen this morning by a woman on a bicycle.

But instead of just putting up a CCTV photo, owner Mark Hogan had it transformed into a wanted poster, which attracted the attention of hundreds of customers and the police.

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The wanted poster from Parade Tea Rooms, and manager Grace Pitchers with the police officers who returned the blankets. Picture: Parade Tea Rooms

Within hours, the person who had stolen the blankets was tracked down and they were returned to the cafe.

Mr Hogan said: ‘Just before we opened, a woman came in and asked if we were open.

‘We said no and she suddenly helped herself to the blankets and ran off.

‘I know it’s only a couple of blankets but it’s the principle that someone could do that and get away with it.’

The blankets are used to keep customers warm when in the outdoor seating area.

Allegedly, the woman was known to police, who paid her a quick visit to retrieve the stolen items.

By 2pm, the blankets were back where they belonged, which Mr Hogan says is partly down to their unique wanted poster going viral.

He said: ‘We’ve got a web designer who does a lot of work for us – I sent them the picture and they worked their magic.

‘A lot of people give the police a hard time, but they worked really fast to get these back to us and we’re very grateful to them.’