A CITY restaurant owned by the Masterchef 2012 winner was targeted in a burglary as a thief smashed through its entrance last night.

Lakaz Maman, on Bedford Place, was broken into just after 11.30pm, when an intruder smashed the front glass door and made off with multiple laptops and iPads.

It came the night before the official first re-opening day for the Mauritian restaurant's takeaway and delivery service since the lockdown.

Owner Shelina Permalloo said it is the first time they have ever had a break-in.

She said: "Today was our first opening day after 125 days of closure. The manager Sharon only ever calls in an emergency and so when I saw her ringing while I was at home, I quickly picked up the phone.

"She told me the glass was smashed and asked if I was inside. I told her not to go in. Then we later found out things were stolen, including the work laptop, iPad and two of our delivery tablets, which has stopped trading."

Daily Echo:

Shelina, who is also known for being the author of cookery books such as The Sunshine Diet and Sunshine on a Plate, said the Masterchef 2012 winning trophy was not stolen - which she was "so happy" about.

She added that the break-in has not just had a physical effect, but that it has hit the four-year-long business financially and emotionally too.

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"Everyone has been on furlough and hospitality has been hit so hard, we are in fear of 1.5 million businesses being lost as it is," she added.

"Whatever we have in the bank is how we earn money, we're not a big chain. The impact of what they have taken is that they have all of our recipes and risk assessments. It's the labour to get all of the work back."

A spokesperson for Hampshire Constabulary said: "We are investigating a burglary which took place at Lakaz Maman in the early hours of this morning (16 July).

"A laptop, two Huawei tablets and an iPad were stolen from inside.

"Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 44200263528."

Lalaz Maman is back open tomorrow for delivery and reopens for dining on August 1.