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Owners of Framlingham coffee shop Majestic Hare Apothecary launch fundraiser after thieves make off with £5,000 worth of equipment

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Residents in Framlingham have rallied together to support their town’s beloved antique store after thousands of pounds of equipment was stolen from it last week.

On the night of Sunday, July 23, thieves broke in and stole a coffee machine, coffee grinder, slush machine and cash from the Majestic Hare Apothecary, in Fore Street – worth around £5,000 in total.

Owners James Ebbage, 33, and Will Driver, 35, were hit with a double blow not long after when their insurance company said they would not be covering them for the losses.

Mr Ebbage has already managed to recover more than £500 thanks since setting up a fundraiser. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.
Mr Ebbage has already managed to recover more than £500 thanks since setting up a fundraiser. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

To their surprise, dozens of people have come together to support the couple – who had opened their store just two years ago.

Recalling the incident, Mr Ebbage said: “We closed the shop on Sunday and we drove out to see some friends.

“When I got in Monday morning the first thing I noticed was a piece of wood on the floor that was on the back of the slush machine.

“I thought ‘that’s a bit odd’, and when I went to out the key in the lock I noticed it had been pulled off by a crowbar.

“My heart dropped because I knew exactly what had happened.

“There was slush everywhere where they had just dumped it out.

“The police said it was likely we would never see the equipment again.

“It’s been pretty mortifying to be honest.”

The couple’s misery was only compounded days later when their insurer said they would not be paying out because they had been told the goods were kept inside the store itself, as opposed to the ‘Coffee Hut’ in the shop’s back yard – a claim Mr Ebbage refutes.

One customer recommended the pair set up a fundraising page, to help recoup some of their losses. Since setting it up on Wednesday, they have raised more than £560, from a total of 29 backers.

“It wasn’t our idea,” added Mr Ebbage, who is from Bury St Edmunds.

“It wasn’t something that we though about doing.

“But we had received several messages from a lot of our family, friends and regular customers, that they would like to donate money and get us back on track.

“We were the cheapest place in town that sold slush puppies, too, so a lot of the children have been devastated.

“One customer said we should set a JustGiving page so we decided to do it and it’s been really overwhelming.

“The generosity and positivity from everyone who has donated, even the people that haven’t donated who have just got in touch to send us messages has been amazing.

If you have any information about the incident, you can contact Suffolk Constabulary on 101, quoting crime reference number 37/47320/22

A spokesperson for the force said: “We were called after report that between 4:40pm on Sunday, July 24, and 9am on Monday, July 25, an unknown suspect forced a door to a shed and stolen a coffee machine, a slush machine and cash.”

To donate to Mr Ebbage and Mr Driver’s fundraiser, click here.