Fury as Wigan pub is targeted again by thieves

An angry business owner was woken at 5am to discover thieves had targeted his premises for the third time in just four months.
Mario Selmani outside the Whitesmiths Arms and, inset, the broken windowMario Selmani outside the Whitesmiths Arms and, inset, the broken window
Mario Selmani outside the Whitesmiths Arms and, inset, the broken window

Around £4,000 is believed to have been snatched by a man who broke into the Whitesmiths Arms, on Standishgate, yesterday.

A hammer was thrown through a window at the historic building early in the morning.

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The cash register was pulled out, with thousands of pounds in cash stolen, while an iPad used to take orders and a mobile phone were also taken.

Devastated Mario Selmani, who only opened the pub-restaurant just before Christmas, was alerted when the alarm went off.

He said: “The alarm is connected to my phone so my phone rang at five o’clock in the morning. I called the police straight away.”

He is devastated that the business has been targeted yet again.

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Mr Selmani said: “I feel pretty angry. I am trying to build a business. It is the third time this has happened.

“It’s very destructive knowing that you are trying to do something honest and someone is trying to take this away from you.”

The incident was caught by a CCTV camera and Mr Selmani is offering a £500 reward to anyone with information to identify the burglar.

He is also urging police to increase patrols in the area.

The break-in follows two previous incidents at the Whitesmiths Arms since December.

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Just days before the business was due to open, thieves smashed their way in and stole CCTV equipment and a laptop while ransacking the place.

It came as Mr Selmani and his team were working hard to unveil the new pub and restaurant, which has a menu putting an Italian twist on popular British dishes.

As well as losing a large amount of cash and the repair bills to be paid each time, Mr Selmani says the repeated incidents are having a real impact on the new business.

“Morale is down and I am wondering what’s the point. I could get a job and avoid the stress,” he said.

“I will keep going though until my last breath.”

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The Whitesmiths Arms opened as usual at noon yesterday, with Mr Selmani insisting: “Nothing will stop me.”

He praised customers for their support after sharing photographs of the damage on Facebook.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "At around 5.15am on Wednesday police were called to a report of a burglary that happened some time between 10pm on March 10 and 5am on March 11 at a restaurant on Standishgate in Wigan.

"No arrests have currently been made and inquires are ongoing.

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"Anyone who has any information about the burglaries should call police on 0161 856 7124 quoting incident number 0381 of March 11.

"Details can also be passed on anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."