A café in West Kirby says petty crime and anti-social behaviour involving local businesses has been on the rise after outside furniture was stolen and damaged by a gang of teenagers last week.

The youths stole a chair from outside the venue before snapping the legs off and dumping it in Ashton Park on Tuesday, June 1.

Andrew Mahon, who owns Aubergine Café, took to Facebook on Tuesday night to send a message to the gang of teenagers he caught on CCTV.

The post read: “You may be aware that businesses in West Kirby have fallen victim to a sizeable increase in petty crime over the past few weeks and months.

Wirral Globe: The youths stole a chair from outside the venue before snapping the legs off and dumping it

“Due to anti-social behaviour some small business owners have had to close their shops early due to intimidation of customers and staff.

“It’s so serious that the police have now put anti-social orders on West Kirby town centre.

“Aubergine has been on the receiving end of this petty criminal behaviour and just last week, on Tuesday June 1, some property of ours was stolen from right outside the cafe is broad daylight.

“We have a message for the person holding a chair stolen from Aubergine in Ashton Park.

“We’ve all done silly things when we were younger, trying to show off in front of our friends.

“Stealing a chair from a local café probably seemed quite a good idea at the time, but we really loved that chair. It was a valued member of the Aubergine team.

“The chair was only young and we had purchased it relatively recently.

“We cared for it and it supported our lovely customers during these recent difficult times. We hoped we would have many years together but you stole that from us, snapped off our chair’s lovely shiny chrome legs and then dumped it in the park like worthless junk.

“That’s not nice.”

The owners of the café are now asking for the youths responsible to come forward and pay for the chair with the promise of “no hard feelings”.

The café’s statement added: “If you can’t afford to pay for it, you’re welcome to come and wash some dishes for us for a couple of days.

“We hope this will be enough to stop you inflicting your unscrupulous ways on other local businesses, at a time when it’s the last thing they need to be dealing with.

“If you choose not to come forward we will release a better quality version of the photo and the others we have received and we will provide a copy to all of our local schools.”

Andrew told the Globe: “My wife, May, runs the cafe and is part of a WhatsApp group with other local businesses and the stuff that gets reported daily is disgusting.

“We live and work in West Kirby and our kids go to school here it’s a lovely place and we want to protect that.”

Andrew says the amount of anti-social behaviour is West Kirby has “skyrocketed” over the last 12 months.

He said: “Right now there just seems to be an absolute tidal wave of these sorts of behaviours especially after the lockdown.

“We get rowdy teenagers hanging around the town centre and we’ve had elderly customers commenting saying they are too afraid to come into town because of it.”

Andrew says he is worried how anti-social behaviour will impact businesses even more after the lockdown.

“Lots of local business are hanging on by their fingertips because of lockdown,” he added.

“We are a seaside costal town that relies on tourism, and it doesn’t help to have this on top of it when you’re already trying to get back on your feet.

“It feels like the crimes have gone from small annoyances and nuisances to something darker.”

Since posting on Facebook, Andrew says people have come forward with names and pictures of the teenagers involved.

He said: “We’ve all done stupid things in our youth, but I just hope the people who did this come forward.

“I’m not interested in publishing people’s names I just want them to recognise what they are doing impacts on other people and it’s not pleasant for them.

“I want Aubergine to play it’s part in keeping West Kirby the nice place that it is.”In a statement issued to the Globe, Merseyside Police Community Policing Inspector Paul Harrison said: "At around 4.50pm on Tuesday 1 June, we received a report that a white wooden chair had been stolen from outside Aubergine Cafe on Tynwald Road, West Kirby.

"It is believed that the offender was with a group of around 20-30 young people at the time of the incident. He is described as male, of slim build, and with blonde hair.

"If you were passing through West Kirby at the time and have CCTV or dashcam footage, or if you saw anything suspicious, please contact us on 101 or on Twitter @MerPolCC quoting reference 21000356379.

"Coinciding with the relaxation of Covid restrictions and warmer weather, we have seen a significant increase in footfall in West Kirby.

“This has prompted complaints from residents and businesses relating to antisocial and criminal behaviour.

"We understand the impact these incidents have on the local community, and there are a number of things we've introduced recently to help tackle them and reassure residents.

“These include a dispersal zone, which included the Concourse and parts of Thurstaston Beach, as well as a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) across West Kirby beach.

“Alongside increased patrols on the streets and the coast, each of these have given officers enhanced powers to challenge antisocial behaviour and issue fixed penalty notices to anyone causing trouble in the area.

"We're working closely with partners including Wirral Council, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the British Transport Police to provide an enhanced visible presence in West Kirby.

“Detached youth workers engage with young people - offering a listening ear plus alternative activities, and on-duty officers visit local businesses which have been affected by crime to listen to any concerns they may have.

"I'd like to reassure residents in the area that we are fully aware of the current issues and are doing everything we can to prevent further problems and deter large groups from congregating in West Kirby.

“We're always happy to listen to feedback or suggestions, so please stop and chat to us with any concerns you have, and remember to report incidents to us via 'Merseyside Police Contact Centre' on Facebook or our website www.merseyside.police.uk.”