A cafe owner in Bath has been left ‘shocked’ and ‘very upset’ after a man set fire to an outdoor flower display at their new premises. Natalie Bonnici and her mother Fiona have just opened a second Sweet Little Thing’s cafe in Bath on Old Bond Street.
The cafe opened on April 5 and not even a week later someone tried to ruin it. A shocking video shows a man setting fire to the café’s display of bright pink flowers that adorns the exterior of the new premises on April 9.
The eye-catching display has refreshed Old Bond Street and Milsom Street, which it overlooks. Natalie said the exhibit was very expensive to make and she was “grateful” another man put out the fire.
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Natalie said: “I arrived at work on Saturday morning and noticed a lot of it had been burned. I looked at the cameras and it was clear. A man sets the screen on fire and then a another man approaches to extinguish it. .
“I’m really shocked by this, we thought being in the center of Bath would suit us well and I even said I didn’t think we needed a camera up front, but I’m glad that we did. It’s very upsetting, the display was expensive to make and the coffee is a big investment. Now we’re going to change the display and get it out of harm’s way. We’re a family business, so everything has a financial impact of course.
Natalie went to Avon and Somerset Police and provided them with the video as well. She said: “Hopefully we can identify the man, the video is very clear.”
Aside from the fire, the cafe is doing very well. Natalie said: “It’s been going so well. The reception has been great from our customers and we’re selling puffs every day.
“I think we’ve brightened up Old Bond Street, January and February were so dull with so many empty units so we’re glad we’ve expanded. We’ve been so busy but it was disappointing that before our first weekend, someone decided to damage our screen.”
Natalie and her mother have run the original Sweet Little Things cafe on Lower Borough Walls since 2018. The popularity of the original cafe has meant they could expand to a second unit in central Bath. The family also run Café Au Lait on Dorchester Street, which is the go-to coffee stop for commuters as it is opposite the station.
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘An act of criminal damage occurred at business premises in Old Bond Street, Bath at around midnight on Saturday April 9. CCTV investigations were carried out in an attempt to identify a suspect as a display outside the front of the venue was damaged by fire.
“Witnesses, or anyone with information about the incident, should call 101 and give the reference number 5222084047.”