A POPULAR seaside café has been subject to a hammer attack which broke 48 glass windows and doors.

The criminal damage to the Cliffhanger in Highcliffe took place in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The attack on the Waterford Road business has left large cracks in the large windows which line more than half the buildings exterior.

All of the damaged windows will need to be replaced and the work is estimated to cost more than £15,000.

The incident comes just days after the café had undergone a significant refurbishment, with new central heating and a variety of other improvements.

Sean Kearney, owner of the Cliffhanger, said: “We’ve just been refurbished and it is just so disappointing how someone could do this.

“In the 11 years since we built it we have never had anything like this and then we get this random act of violence with a hammer.

“This is the first incident on this scale. Everywhere has the odd bit, but this is a real shame.

“If anyone was in the area between 1am and 5am in the early hours of Saturday morning and saw anything please get in touch.

“I think it has got to be around £15,000 just to replace the windows and then add the cost of having them fitted.

The damage was discovered by a staff member on Saturday morning and reported the incident to police.

However, after checking the premises was safe staff opened at 9.30am.

“Lots of people, even just walkers going by, have come in and showed their support. Everyone is just so upset because this is a café in such a nice area.

“People have asked when are we going to close, but we were still open on Saturday morning and I’m planning to get the work done in stages so we will always be open,” Mr Kearney added.

“The windows are going to be replaced and we carry on.

"We’re not going to let it affect the business. We have thousands of bookings for Christmas so the show will go on.”

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “We received at call at 7.54am on Saturday reporting criminal damage to windows between 10.20pm on Friday and 5am on Saturday.

“Enquiries are on-going and no arrests have been made at this stage.”