Couple who left dogs in sweltering car under investigation for theft

Couple who left their dogs in sweltering car forcing police to smash a window to rescue them are under investigation for theft after they were ‘seen on café CCTV taking money from staff tip box’

  • EXCLUSIVE: Separate video footage links same couple to two incidents in the Brighton area on Saturday
  • Couple are pictured stealing tips from Carats Café and Bar then filmed confronting police over dog rescue
  • Police smashed the back window of the black car on Brighton seafront to rescue a beagle and another dog
  • Owners were pictured rushing back to the car and confronted the officers over damage in front of a crowd 
  • Sussex Police have now confirmed they are investigating the alleged theft from the seafront cafe 
  • Animal welfare charity RSPCA says at 72F outside, cars can reach scorching temperatures of 117F in an hour
  • Did you see the rescue or do you know owners of the vehicle? Get in touch at [email protected] 

Did you see the rescue or do you know owners of the vehicle?

Get in touch at [email protected] 

A couple who left their dogs in a sweltering car at the height of the heatwave forcing police to smash a window to release them are under investigation for theft after they were caught on CCTV stealing tips from a seafront cafe on the same day.

In footage obtained by MailOnline, the couple can be seen appearing to take the cash left for staff – after demanding a refund on the food they had eaten – from a family-run cafe in Sussex. 

In a second video recorded nearby later on in the day, the pair were filmed by witnesses as they returned to find police smashing the windows of their car, which is untaxed, to rescue dogs left inside in cages on what was the second hottest day of the year. 

The RSPCA told MailOnline the temperature inside of the car could have reached up to 117F. 

Staff at Carats Cafe and Bar in Southwick, near Brighton, shared the footage of the couple in a bid to identify them after they were caught helping themselves to the cash.

The team described the theft, which took place shortly before midday on Saturday, as ‘unfair and completely unacceptable’ and said the man and woman had received a full refund after ordering two breakfasts because they complained they were unsatisfactory.

It wasn’t until management later checked the CCTV that they realised the couple had appeared to take coins from the tip jar and had also not paid for drinks which had been taken from fridges next to the counter.

Now police say they are investigating the alleged theft by the couple and are appealing for more information.

A couple helped themselves to the tip jar at a café in Southwick, near Brighton, before complaining about food and receiving a full refund. Hours later, police smashed into the couple’s car to rescue their two dogs who were found sweltering inside


The woman can be seen taking coins out of the tip jar while staff are busy at Carats Café and Bar in Southwick, near Brighton

The owners of a vehicle confronted police officers after they were forced to break into the car to rescue a beagle and another dog who had been left unattended inside while temperatures reached 75F on a scorching hot day on Brighton seafront

Police say they want to speak to the suspects who allegedly stole around £30 from the staff tip jar.

They are also alleged to have stolen a number of cakes and drinks from the front counter while distracting staff. 

Zoe Kibble, the manager at Carats, estimates in total the couple cost the café £100, with the cost of the two breakfasts, the drinks and the tips that were taken.

Describing the team’s disappointment, she added: ‘We take on young people and it’s going to have a knock on their confidence.

‘They’ve worked hard for their tips on a really busy, hot weekend so for them to be told their food isn’t good enough and have their tips taken from them is just not on.’

Ms Kibble says the unpleasant incident is a rare occurrence at the popular seafront eatery and it is thought the couple were not from the area.

She added: ‘They sat down, for their breakfasts and ate most of them before complaining to the manager who was working at the time. They said there was some hair in one and complained about the other as well.

Pictured: the owners returned to the car and asked the police officers why they had smashed their vehicle’s back window

This is the moment the officers were smashed the window to rescue a beagle and another dog who had been left alone inside

‘We don’t get many complaints so we just offered a full refund. The manager noticed there were drinks on the table that weren’t in the same order but at the time assumed they had been paid for separately.’

Prior to their appeal, footage had already been shared of police breaking into the couple’s car to rescue two dogs who had been left in sweltering heat only for the man and woman to complain about the damage.

Officers said the beagle and another dog looked instantly relieved when they had fresh air and water after the rescue on Brighton seafront, where temperatures reached 75F (24C) on Saturday.

Video shows one officer using his baton to smash the back window of the black vehicle as the owners rushed back to the scene in horror.

The woman can be heard saying ‘you broke my window out’ as the car alarm goes off.

Another officer can be heard responding to the woman, saying: ‘It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.’

One officer attempted to use his baton before resorting to a glass punch to break the window to let fresh air into the vehicle

A crowd of beach-goers gathered to watch the dramatic rescue unfold on Brighton seafront.  

One witness told MailOnline: ‘The police were called by a member of the public who noticed the dog in the car.

‘The police attempted to contact the owner of the vehicle but they failed. This is when they attempted forceful entry to stop the risk to the pups from the heat.

‘First the PC attempted to use his baton but this failed. Then he used a glass punch four times and the window smashed.’

Another witness said the owners appeared unaware of the dangers posed to animals left in hot vehicles. 

The witness, who said the dogs were ‘panting solidly’ told the Sun: ‘Where they had parked there is just no shade. 

‘At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes’.

‘The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right. He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.’

The officer smashed the window which had been left slightly open but the car was not in shade and the two dogs were inside

The RSPCA says that, despite the common belief it is OK if windows are open or the car is in shade, dogs should never be left alone in vehicles during hot weather.

The charity says a car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm.

When it’s 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour and a dog in these conditions could be susceptible to heatstroke.

Launching their Dogs Die In Hot Cars campaign, RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: ‘We know families love their pets and want to keep them close but, sometimes, it may be safer to leave your four-legged friends at home.

‘Dogs can suffer from heatstroke during hot weather and this can be extremely dangerous, and even prove fatal.

‘We’re calling on pet owners to put the welfare of their dogs first this summer. If you’re heading out and about then consider whether your pet may be happier in the cool at home, only walk them during the cooler hours of the day, and never leave your dog in a car unattended on a warm day.’

Police officers said the dogs looked relieved once they had fresh air and water after the dramatic rescue in front of a crowd

What should you do if you see a dog in a car during hot weather? 

The RSPCA says you should try and establish if the dog is showing any signs of heatstroke such as heavy panting or drooling.

Other signs of heatstroke include lethargy and vomiting.

If the dog is showing signs of heatstroke, the charity says dial 999 immediately.

If police are unavailable and the situation becomes critical, you must be careful before taking the decision to smash the window as this could be considered criminal damage and you may have to defend your actions in court.

Make sure you tell the police what you intent to do and why.

Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. 

One stall holder said: ‘I couldn’t leave my stall but there were several members of the public who were clearly concerned about the dog. It was a roasting day and the temperature in the car must have been horrendous.

‘A couple of PCSOs turned up and then a regular police officer. They were worried as well and I think they did the right thing.

‘I’ve heard the man claimed they’d only been away for 10 minutes but the commotion was going on for at least half an hour or more so that can’t be true. The couple who left their dog in their car in that heat have only got themselves to blame.’

The couple, who had two boys, aged about nine and six, had parked their black estate car close to Brighton Palace Pier and the Sealife Centre before leaving the two dogs in their car with one window open slightly ajar. 

A spokesman for Sussex Police said about the dog incident: ‘We were called about two dogs left locked inside a car in the heat of the day Saturday on Madeira Drive, Brighton.

‘Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable.

‘Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.

‘The owners were given strong words of advice on returning to the car a short time later.

‘The dogs, who were much improved after fresh air and water, were left with the owners.

‘Dog owners should never leave a dog alone in a car on a warm day. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, dial 999.’   

Regarding the alleged theft the spokesman said: ‘Police are investigating after a man and a woman went into Carats Cafe in Basin Road South, Southwick, on Saturday (12 June) at about 11.39am and stole money from the staff tip jar worth about £30.

‘The suspects also stole cakes and drinks from the front counter while distracting staff. Anyone who witnessed the theft or have any information about the suspects is asked to report online or ring 101.’  

Did you see the rescue do you know the owners? Email [email protected] 

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