A CAFE owner is furious after suspected metal thieves stole two ramps for disabled customers from outside her premises in broad daylight.
Jackie O’Beirne, who runs vintage-themed Gladys’ Tea Room, on Seaton Carew front, used the portable ramps to allow elderly and disabled wheelchair users to get in and out of the 1940s inspired tea room.
But she was devastated when she discovered them missing from outside the tea room.
Police are investigating the theft and are appealing for anyone with information to contact them.
Jackie, 44, who opened the tea room in November last year, said: “I’m absolutely devastated.
“I can’t believe it. The ramps are worth so much to us, not in money terms, but for people to get in.
I can’t believe it. The ramps are worth so much to us, not in money terms, but for people to get in.Jackie O’Beirne
“We have got a lot of elderly customers who only get out when they come here for a cuppa and now they have taken that away.
“I presume whoever took them will try to weigh them in as scrap metal and sell them.”
Jackie has contacted scrap metal dealers to alert them the ramps are stolen if they are offered them for sale.
Police are going to check local CCTV from around the tea room to see if the culprits have been captured on film.
Jackie added: “A lady had been in and we had just let her out using the ramps.
“I left them to the side of the building for literally two minutes and when I went back someone had stolen them.
“You can’t get a wheelchair in without them.”
The ramps are around 2ft-long and have a handle on their side for carrying.
The theft happened at around 2.30pm on Wednesday, March 25.
Jackie, a mum of four, created the 1940s style tea room after being inspired by memories of visits as a child for tea to her nana Gladys Parkes’ house in Jutland Road, Hartlepool.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the ramps is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.