A POPULAR village tearoom - forced to close after a series of break-ins - was back in business this week much to the relief of customers.

The Copper Kettle in Thurgoland shut its doors some weeks ago after masked raiders struck as the cosy cafe was closing.

After kicking in the door, they got away with just £10.

But as the third raid in little over a year, it was enough for owner Michelle Gray to decide enough was enough and put the property - which had also housed the village post office - up for sale.

Determined to continue serving the community as long as possible, Michelle had the door repaired - and she decided to reopen on Monday.

Customers were quick to make the most of it.

Saskia Hopson said: “It is a brilliant cafe and a grand meeting place for the community. Such a shame it is going to go.”

Margaret Denton agreed. “The cafe is a real hub for the community and we have so missed it while it has been closed.”

Michelle was equally pleased to be back behind the counter.

“It was lovely to welcome back some familiar faces and receive lovely comments from people, such as how much they had missed being able to pop in for a cuppa or lunch and meet up with friends,” she said.

“I am really grateful to everyone who has continued to support us after what has been a truly traumatic period.”

But having the Copper Kettle open again in Thurgoland is not set to be permanent.

Michelle and her husband, Duncan, plan to move as soon as they can sell the property. “We have a grand-daughter nearby so we will be staying in this area - but probably not Thurgoland,” said Michelle, who had always dreamed of opening a rural post office and cafe.

“We will run the tearoom until such time as we sell the property. It should have been a wonderful dream come true. And it has been taken from us by these three events.”

Thurgoland, meanwhile, is without a Post Office branch. Michelle said the Post Office was looking at finding a permanent solution and that an outreach service could be used as a stop-gap.