A MUM and her family are heartbroken after vandals caused ‘tens of thousands’ of pounds of damage to renovations underway to create their dreams of a Middle Eastern restaurant in York.

North Yorkshire Police is investigating the incident at the former Spread Eagle pub in Walmgate.

Builders have been renovating the premises for the past four weeks, which was to re-open as a restaurant before Christmas.

Rob Fox, who with wife Mona and stepson Tom, were to launch the new business, said he discovered the damage at 8.45am yesterday when he came to meet the builders and saw the front door was wide open and water was “gushing out".

However, cleaners from the nearby Watergate Inn reported seeing the door open at 4.30am.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Some of the vandalism

Rob said: “There was extensive damage, water damage, radiators have been punctured, wallpaper has been ripped off the walls, paint splattered on the walls, furniture broken, equipment broken. The roof at the back has also been damaged.

“Tens of thousands of pounds of damage has been caused. It’s a write-off.”

Now, the family are appealing to the community to help get back on their feet and have set up a GoFundMePage, which is already close to its £5,000 goal.

Wife Mona Al Maflehi, who is from Yemen and has lived in York since 2017, previously had a restaurant by the Watergate Inn. Then, she opened the Yemeni Heaven in Holgate Road. It closed due to Covid, leading to the new venture.

Rob added: “It’s a family passion to have a Yemeni restaurant in York. We have put a lot of time and effort to make it a successful family business. We had hoped to open before Christmas but these thugs have devastated our dreams.

“Business is hard enough for everybody as it is without this happening.”

Stepson Tom Yafai said: “My mother is heartbroken and defeated and it hurts so much to see her like this. All her life she strives to work and take care of her children. As a single mother, she has raised five kids, she struggled all her life living in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

“When she left and came to Europe, she felt like she can finally make a business that is her own and bring her culture here that she misses. She has been working non-stop and made so much amazing progress with the place. We were planning on opening very soon but now… it's all gone.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Mona is devastaed at the damage

Witnesses or anyone with information are urged to call North Yorkshire Police on 101 or make a report online at www.northyorkshire.police.uk.

If you would prefer to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or go to www.crimestoppers-uk.org.uk.

Please quote reference number 12210260486 when providing details

To donate to the family's appeal, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-my-mom-rebuild-her-business?

  • A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said a 38-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident had been released on conditional bail while inquiries continue.