Northampton cafe owners distraught after secret cannabis farm turns business into a crime scene
Frankie's Bakes only opened three weeks ago and now it has been forced to close indefinitely because of a cannabis farm discovered in a flat above the cafe
A new cafe in Kingsthorpe has been forced to close its doors indefinitely after an illegal cannabis farm was discovered in the flat above the business last night (July 5).
Frankie's Bakes opened just three weeks ago on Harborough Road and started trading on June 18. Owners, Shaun and Harriet Gallagher set up the cafe as a tribute to their baby, Frankie, who sadly passed away in 2019.
Shaun noticed water leaking into the cafe's kitchen last night and forcibly entered the upstairs flat. Much to his horror, he found a cannabis grow containing around 45 infant plants in the front bedroom and immediately called the police. Officers, upon arrival, declared the building a crime scene and the cafe had to close.
Shaun said: "We are absolutely devastated by this. We took a huge risk setting up the cafe as a way to help us deal, as a family, with the loss of our baby Frankie a couple of years ago. We started baking at home with our kids and, after posting a few pictures on Snapchat, I had people asking me if they could buy our bakes.
"So, after four months of operating from home, we took the plunge and refurbished a local premises to make the Frankie's Bakes dream a reality.
"We have had to cease trading at a huge loss with no compensation and it had broken our hearts."
Shaun and Harriet rent the ground-floor cafe space on a five-year lease and used their own money to transform a previously run down business into a modern and welcoming space. They currently do not rent the upstairs flat where the cannabis farm was found.
The heartbroken business owners believe that Frankie's Bakes will remain closed for at least a week with the police investigation ongoing and lots of repairs having to be made to the cafe as a result of the shocking discovery.
They have to wait for all of their electrics to be fixed as a result of the leak from the upstairs flat into the kitchen and, as a result of no electric, had to write off over £2,000 worth of refrigerated stock.
They will also need to repair the ceiling before they can commence trading again and have 12 members of staff to pay in the meantime. The cafe is currently the Gallagher family's only source of revenue.
Shaun and Harriet Gallagher said: ""We were waiting on the business insurance as we have to be running for 30 days before the policy starts. We have only been running since June 18."
Harriet set up a GoFundMe for Frankie's Bakes in a bid to get back the money they lost and raise funds for the unexpected financial costs now faced by their business. The future of Frankie's Bakes now remains uncertain with the family having to deal with a great deal of emotional distress following the police incident.
She said: "We hate having to ask the public for help as we want to be the business that provides a service. As this is out of our hands, we are now left in the position where we will have to close down for good.
"We have appreciated all you have done for us in the community and would love to come back fighting."
A spokesperson for Northamptoshire Police confirmed the cannabis plants were found at 8.20pm in Harborough Road,
They added: "About 45 infant plants were discovered inside the front bedroom above the cafe.
"The grow is being dismantled and enquiries are ongoing to ascertain who is responsible for it."