Farm shop owners targeted twice by burglars
BUSINESS owners at a Frampton Cotterell farm shop believe the same gang of thieves is behind two raids on their store.
The Trent Food and Beverage Hall at Poplars Farm Shop on Bristol Road has been raided twice in a matter of weeks.
Large quantities of meat, the shop's entire stock of red wine and 11 bottles of apple juice were stolen in the most recent break-in. Added to the £2,000 value of the lost stock is the cost of repairing damage to windows and equipment, which is likely to top £1,000.
Cindy Trent and her husband Tim run the food hall business, next door to a café run by Mike and Sarah Cowell.
Cindy discovered the break-in when she arrived for work at 5am on December 12.
She said: “I was in shock – I could see something shiny through the window before we went in, there was glass everywhere and it was shattered into smithereens.
"We’ve got three refrigerated units and they broke all the shutters in the units, one was completely empty and one three quarters empty.
"They took all the pork counter – gammon, pork fillets, sausages, there were no sausages left. From the beef counter they took the burgers, they took all the cut-to-size steaks, all the topside joints of beef, the half leg of lamb – not the whole leg of lamb - they left the whole chickens and the beef dripping.”
After the first break-in on November 5 last year, when around £1,000 of meat was taken, Cindy and Tim were advised by police to install crime prevention measures such as roller shutters, CCTV, or smoke cloaks. Without the immediate funds available to pay for a long-term solution, as an interim measure they had the doors reinforced, extra bolts added, and bars put on all the windows.
The food hall and cafe were separated by internal doors and windows in a partition wall and in the first burglary, the thieves appeared to have broken through from the café to the food hall, so bolts and bars were added there, too.
But during the second break-in the damage was far worse.
Cindy said: “They clearly couldn’t get the doors open between the shop and the café, so they took the whole partition wall down. The doors were on the floor and the wall, they had kicked over the Christmas tree and broken the lights, there were 8 bottles of red wine on the floor 2 of which they had broken.”
Police did find some evidence and are still investigating. Cindy and Tim noticed that on both occasions the same type of thick white polythene bags, with no handles, were left behind, so they are sure they have been targeted by the same thieves twice.
They have now built a permanent wall to try and protect both businesses and changed their working hours so that staff are there overnight as well as in the day.
Cindy said: “We would like to thank our customers for the support they have shown us and they looked genuinely horrified when they found out that we were burgled once again.”
An Avon and Somerset police spokesperson said: "Police enquiries into these incidents are continuing."
Anyone who has information about either raid or has been offered meat or wine in suspicious circumstances should call the police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 5219 286 028 in relation to the December 12 incident or 5219 256 655 in relation to November 5.