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Police investigate shrub theft from top restaurant in Steele’s Village

Co-owner Shadi Maleki outside Tandis, which was targeted by plant thieves. Picture: Dieter Perry Co-owner Shadi Maleki outside Tandis, which was targeted by plant thieves. Picture: Dieter Perry

Friday, June 13, 2014
5:00 PM

Plant thieves were caught on CCTV struggling to steal shrubs from a top Iranian restaurant – before returning with wire cutters to complete the late-night hedge heist.

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The determined duo fetched a toolbox after failing in their first attempt to swipe the box hedges from outside Tandis Restaurant, in Haverstock Hill’s Steele’s Village.

They struck in the dead of night last weekend and eventually made off with six plants worth about £350.

Staff at the restaurant – a favourite haunt of celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio – and neighbouring businesses were left scratching their heads at the sheer dedication of the culprits.

Lynn Whiting, chairman of the Steele’s Village Business Association, said: “There’s a lot of vandalism going on here at the moment, there’s been a whole lot of cars smashed into in Haverstock Hill, Steele’s Road and Eton Road.

“But for someone to come back with wire cutters – that’s not vandalism. If it was someone who was drunk, they would have given up.”

She added: “The plants are very important to the area and the shop owners have been paying for them for years. It’s just awful.”

CCTV footage shows a man and woman trying to work the hedges loose from the planters, which are bolted to the ground, before realising they are secured with wires wrapped tightly around the stems.

The couple wander off, before returning about 45 minutes later with a toolbox. The man uses a wire cutter to get the plants loose, while the woman acts as lookout, and then loads them into a shopping trolley.

Seah Arad, restaurant manager at Tandis, which opened about five years ago, said: “It’s not the money that matters. What they have taken takes a couple of years to grow and what worries me is, when are they going to come back and take the rest?”

Police investigating the theft said the woman was white, in her late 20s, slim with long dark hair and wearing a hoodie. The man was white, of heavy build, with short light hair.

Anyone with information should call police on 101 and ask for Pc Kevin Beedel, from the Haverstock Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

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