‘Honest’ thieves return stolen item

Chaplain Chris Bennett at the Dock Cafe in Belfast. Photo: Siobhan Fenton/PA Wire
Chaplain Chris Bennett at the Dock Cafe in Belfast. Photo: Siobhan Fenton/PA Wire
  • Chaplain ‘inspired’ after roberry

A Belfast chaplain has been “inspired” by the return of a stolen item which was subsequently returned to an ‘honesty’ cafe.

The not-for-profit Dock Cafe in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter does not charge customers for food or drink, instead asking that they make an honest donation of whatever they can afford.

On Monday, the business’s safe was taken and among the items in it was a sketchbook of “immense emotional value” containing dozens of personal drawings which the cafe had been minding after an English tourist accidentally left it behind during a visit.

Following a plea by staff from the Christian-run cafe the sketchbook was returned today.

Chaplain Chris Bennett, who helps co-ordinate the cafe, said: “I’m delighted to say the sketchbook has been returned to the cafe.

“We said that if they just returned it, we’d keep it anonymous, so I’ll not go into the details of exactly how it was returned.

“I was optimistic that this might happen and yet I knew I was placing the ethos of the cafe on the line.

“We trust people, we believe in their honesty, that’s the daily reality of the place and yet I know that I was taking a very big chance in hoping the notebook would be returned.

“It inspires me so much, that we are right to trust people. Honesty works as it says on our cafe wall.”

Mr Bennett also revealed that since the incident, members of the public have been donating to the cafe, meaning they have also been able to recover the money also stolen during the robbery.