Thieves steal furniture and artificial turf from outside marina restaurant

Apollo Ouedraogo (38) outside of Kilmandjaro. Picture by FRANK REID
Apollo Ouedraogo (38) outside of Kilmandjaro. Picture by FRANK REID

A Hartlepool restaurant’s entire outdoor seating area was stolen in the night by thieves.

Operators of Kilimandjaro on Navigation Point at the marina were shocked when they arrived on Wednesday and found seating and even artificial turf that was glued to the ground had vanished.

Police are now investigating and the restaurant estimates the value of the fixtures that were stolen at about £2,000.

Franchise owner of the African-themed diner, Apollo Ouedraogo said: “I received a phone call from staff to say ‘get yourself here’. They said we have been broken into.

“When I got there it just felt like a different place. I was shocked.”

Items stolen included tables, large garden benches, plants and the artificial grass.

The features had been in place since last summer and had helped to boost business, said Apollo.

He added: “When I look at how it was before I think we did a very good job.

“We tried to bring the tropical outside.

“I am very disappointed by what’s happened. The grass was glued to the floor.

“I don’t know how it is going to be any good for the person who took it.

“I keep asking myself is that theft, vandalism?

“The garden benches were quite a big size and they have all been taken.

“It all made a massive difference to the business and gave us more exposure on the marina.”

Luckily, the thieves did not enter the restaurant itself.

Apollo, 38, added: “They didn’t enter the premises. We have reported it to the police.

“They say they will be investigating but it is quite disappointing.

“I question is it a targeted burglary or has someone just seen it and thought ‘let’s take it’.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We received a report of theft of property from outside the premises at 4.30pm on Wednesday January 24.

“Crime details were taken and officers are inquiries are being carried out.”

Apollo runs a second Kilimandjaro restaurant in Middlesbrough.

In December, that restaurant suffered a break-in when a safe containing £3,500 was reported stolen along with £250 from the till, and CCTV system damaged.

It was just months after the theft of another safe.

Kilimandjaro has been open at Hartlepool marina for about two years.

Last summer, the restaurant hit the headlines in the Mail when it began a parmo challenge.

Diners were invited to try to polish off a huge platter of five chicken parmos plus sides including chicken wings, fries, rice, coleslaw, garlic bread and salad.