THE owner of an award-winning chain of Fylde coast restaurants has slammed yobs who put washing liquid in a water fountain outside his premises.
Vandals poured the liquid into the fountain, a feature outside Toast Bar and Grill in Wood Street, St Annes, around 10pm on Monday night, potentially causing thousands of pounds of damage to the water feature.
Toast owner Riccy Caunce said: “Mindless acts of vandalism such as these could cost thousands of pounds to rectify in addition to vast amounts of management time which will be wasted in repairing the problem.
“Our family has invested heavily in the property bringing new life to a dormant building in the heart of the St Annes food quarter. The directors of the business have put every effort into providing much-needed jobs in the area and time rectifying this issue could be better spent training new staff we have employed which is already very challenging.
“The cost to repair this will be excessive and put a strain on finances which a new business could do without.
“The fountain is a fantastic piece of architecture and enhances the area and such vandalism may mean that the fountain has to be removed in the future which would be a shame.”
Karl Myhill, restaurant manager, said he hoped with the assistance of police, the yobs would be caught quickly.
He added: “It happened at 9.55pm on Monday night and it looked like three youths.
“I was walking through the restaurant and noticed the foam rising up out of the fountain.
“We looked at the CCTV straight away and could see three young guys. The three cameras which cover the forecourt picked up quite clearly what they looked like, even the names on the clothes they were wearing.
“It looks like a normal bottle of washing up liquid and they’ve been and gone in 20 seconds.
“The police have already spoken to two shops open in the area to see if the three men bought any washing up liquid and if there are CCTV images of them.
“If the filter and pump are damaged, we are looking at around £3,000 for repairs. We are a new restaurant, only a few months old and this isn’t what we need as we try to grow a business.”
Toast officially opened in December in a £250,000 re-launch, taking over the former Joya premises in Wood Street.
As well as opening a new upstairs bar and nightclub, The Loft, the owners of Toast promised around 50 full and part-time jobs for Fylde residents.
A police spokesman said: “We can confirm a liquid was poured into the fountain, causing a minimum of £300 damage to the water feature.”
Anyone with information about the vandalism can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.