Thief uses big band music event to sneak into Fareham church and steal from community cafe

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A THIEF stole a till and expensive electronic goods from a church's community cafe in Fareham - sneaking in amongst the members of a big band orchestra performing on the night.

Cafe Imbizo, which is run by the Fareham Community Church, had more than £25 taken along with the till, as well as an iPad and a laptop in the burglary on Saturday, November 23.

A picture from Saturday night's CCTV footage at Fareham Community Church

A picture from Saturday night's CCTV footage at Fareham Community Church

A 17-strong band, specialising in the big band music of Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble, had been playing inside the community church from 7pm to 11pm.

The thief entered through the back of the building as members of the band were leaving the premises, according to church staff who have surveyed CCTV footage from the night.

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The man fled after he was discovered with the till by a member of the band.

Cafe Imbizo, in 171 West Street, Fareham.

Cafe Imbizo, in 171 West Street, Fareham.

Rob Taylor, building manager at the Fareham Community Church, said: ‘There was a big band event here on the night, and he sneaked in while they were packing up.

‘We are sure he was not part of the event.

‘Normally the back of the building is locked up.’

Nigel Prior, a  Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator for Fareham, said the cafe had been 'hit quite badly.'

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He said: 'The cafe is open again now with limited menu, but they have been hit quite badly on the value of equipment and loss of trade, which they rely on to help others in need.

‘The main thing is to help Café Imbizo projects if we can - donations and customers in the cafe would help.’

The cafe, which was set up in 2012, remains open but is only accepting cash payments as its card reader was taken with the till in the burglary. 

A police spokesman said: ‘We were called to a burglary at a café in West Street, Fareham, just after at 00.10 on Sunday (November 24). A number of items including a till, laptop, iPad and mobile phone were taken.’

Anyone with information should call 101 quoting reference 44190422174.