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How Archway cafe’s own purrrrlice force tried to stop burglars

CCTV footage shows plucky pet refusing to budge, before raiders stole safe containing cash

17 May, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Alina Kuriseva, Kay Allen and Claire Patel at Whiskers And Cream café

THE owner of a cat café targeted by sledgehammer-wielding thieves says one of her eight pets defiantly stared down the burglars.

Kay Allen said Vanilla was the “sassiest” of the cats at Whiskers And Cream, in Holloway Road, Archway, and CCTV showed he had not run away during the break-in.

She said: “Imagine him looking at the burglars and saying, ‘go on, try me’. He’s a bit sassy.”

When the police first knocked on her door to tell her about the break-in, Ms Allen said she “felt sick to her stomach”.

The grandmother-of-eight, who previously worked for 23 years as an NHS nurse, said: “When you end up being the victim of something so mindless and so cruel, you think, why am I here? You’re not safe, this is scary.

“I won’t let them beat me though. If you’ve worked in the NHS you have to have a certain amount of emotional resilience.”

Hundreds of pounds were taken by two men in balaclavas, seen on CCTV obtained by the Tribune.

CCTV footage of the café break-in on Friday

The front door was smashed in at about midnight last Friday, before the raiders used a sledgehammer to rip the safe from the wall and made off with more than £600 in cash.

The eight cats, five of which are rescue pets, were later found by Ms Allen and the police hiding throughout the café.

Ms Allen said: “It took us ages to find all the cats. One had hidden behind the serving trays and she popped her head out at the end.

“I saw from the CCTV that Vanilla had gone up on a shelf as soon as it happened.”

Whiskers and Cream was opened in November last year.

Ms Allen, 56, who is slightly allergic to cats, said: “You kind of get numbed by the news of crime in the area. You don’t really think it will happen to you.”

She added: “The amount of blood, sweat and tears that have gone into building up this place, I understand now what people mean when they say that after they have been burgled they feel dirty.

“When you’re cleaning after, you feel like you’re scrubbing away that badness.”

The café reopened on Tuesday, with Ms Allen standing proudly at the door ready to welcome customers back in.

A police spokesman said: “A safe containing a quantity of cash is believed to have been stolen before the suspects fled the scene in a black car. No arrests have been made and enquiries continue.”

Anyone with information about the burglary is asked to call 101.


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