Bungling burglars fail in cash till raid on Krays’ Pellicci ‘caff’ haunt down Bethnal Green

Pellicci nephew Tony Zaccaria and the stolen cash register now returned to the caf� in Bethnal Green

Pellicci nephew Tony Zaccaria and the stolen cash register now returned to the caf� in Bethnal Green. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Bungling burglars thought they could turn over Bethnal Green’s famous Pellicci greasy spoon café where the Krays used to hang out—but couldn’t get the cash till open.

Tony Zaccaria with the hero butcher from next door, Peter Sargent, who returned the stolen cash till

Tony Zaccaria with the hero butcher from next door, Peter Sargent, who returned the stolen cash till to Pellicci's. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The dawn raiders weren’t even able to smash through the laminated plate glass window at first, so they had to find a paving stone to hurl at it to get in, according to a passer-by at 5.30am.

They finally got into the café in Bethnal Green Road, but failed to fathom out how to get the cash register to open.

So the luckless louts carried it off—yet still couldn’t decipher how to open the thing and finally dumped it round the corner in Florida Street.

“They didn’t take anything else,” Pellicci nephew Tony Zaccaria told the East London Advertiser.


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“Three of them took the till away when they couldn’t work out how it opens. All they had to do was press a button—but it’s a very old till and was just too much for them to work out.”

Tony and his aunt Maria Pellicci arrived at 7am to open up and got a shock, but luckily there was no damage apart from the window. The thieves didn’t even help themselves to food.

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But that wasn’t the end of it. Spitalfields antiques market trader Charlotte Sellers spotted the abandoned cash register in the gutter on her way to work.

She alerted butcher Peter Sargent and the two heroes carried it back to Pellicci’s.

The till has sentimental value. It’s 80 years old and fits well with the café’s art deco wood panelling interior, once a favourite haunt of the notorious Kray twins who grew up round the corner the Vallance Road.

The famous East End ‘caff’ was used by Hollywood film producer Brian Helgaland to shoot a scene for his 2015 blockbuster movie Legend, about the Krays’ East End gangland reign of terror through the 1950s and 60s.

Pellicci’s was the real-life scene setting that depicted a showdown confrontation the menacing gangland twins had with their Richardson mob rivals some time around 1960, giving the movie its historic authenticity.

The ‘caff’ has stood the test of time, established by the Italian Pellicci family 116 years ago and still run by the same bloodline.

The cash till the thwarted thieves couldn’t open is almost as old. But what the intruders didn’t realise was that there was no cash in the till anyway—it’s just for decoration!

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