AN appeal has been launched for information after thieves raided a restaurant stealing a safe containing £1,000.

The burglars struck at the Samuel Pepys hotel and restaurant in Church Street, Harwich, in an early morning raid.

The crooks put black tape over the CCTV while carrying out the raid to prevent their actions from being recorded.

Graham Osborne, 58, of Fronks Road, Dovercourt, said the thieves gained entrance through a fire door at the top of the building.

They went straight to the office where one took the shelf off the wall together with the safe.

Mr Osborne said: “On the camera the only thing we see is yellow gloves and a black tape.

“The person knew about our camera, they knew where the money is kept, where the office was and how to get in.”

The angry owner, who has run the business for seven years, said the raid had cost them about £300 to £400 in damages in addition to the money stolen from the safe.

Mr Osborne added: “I’m really frustrated, angry and irritated.

“I want to find out who it was.

“I’d ask anyone with CCTV footage in the area to check it and to let me know if they see something suspicious.”

The burglary took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning at about 3.20am.

The shelf was found dumped a 100 yards away from the restaurant and the safe was found in the grounds of St Nicholas Church the next day.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “We received information that suspects forced entry to the building before taking cash worth of hundreds of pounds.

“Anyone with information is asked to call Clacton police station on 101 quoting crime reference 42/22985/20 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via the website”