Northampton coffee shop's fairytale dream spoilt by customers stealing crockery and competition from Rushden Lakes
Petty theft, break-ins and customers pocketing cups and cutlery has pushed a Harry Potter-inspired coffee shop in Northampton town centre to close down.
The Magic Bean Emporium, in St Giles Street, will shut its doors for the last time this summer.
Owner Michella Dos Santos says she is "heartbroken" over the decision after a year of seeing expensive stock go missing and a series of devastating break-ins have together cost the business some Â£4,000.
She told the Chronicle & Echo: "It's been a huge factor in the decision. Because we've got quirky stock our cups, milk jugs and cake forks just go missing. I've got tired of replacing things.
"We had 24 of these glass mugs for serving tea. Now we've just got five.
"When customers steal cups from Costa or Starbucks it costs them pennies. To us, it's Â£12 a pop."
The cafe, which opened in 2014, is known for its fairytale-themed decorating and is ranked the number one coffee shop in Northampton town centre on Trip Advisor.
But Michella says a "particularly tough year" has only been made worse by the opening of Rushden Lakes, which she says has led to a drop in footfall and "one of the quietest Christmas' for Northampton in years".
She said: "It's been a very hard decision. We've had around 1,000 messages since the announcement. You expect people to say 'I'm going to miss that shop for its toasties or the milkshakes. It's surprised me how many people use it as a pick-me-up or a comfortable place for their mental wellbeing.
"I've met some wonderful regulars and thank you to everyone who supports their independent businesses. Let’s remind each other that there is still magic in this town."
However, Michella says she would consider offers to buy the Magic Bean brand.