Shropshire charity shop burglaries: Two men arrested after string of raids across county
Two men have been arrested after a series of burglaries at charity shops across Shropshire.
The latest incident came as burglars rampaged through a street in Market Drayton, breaking into three shops in one night.
The men, aged 25 and 29, have been arrested on suspicion of burglary and are currently in police custody.
West Mercia Police said this afternoon: "Over the past few weeks a number of charity shops across the county have been burgled. Detectives believe the offences are linked with enquiries on-going."
Shropshire local policing commander Superintendent Mo Lansdale said: “Officers have been working to piece together the information we have about these burglaries and earlier today arrested two men on suspicion of burglary.
“We know these burglaries have had a significant impact on local communities, particularly as it is charity shops that have been targeted, and local officers we will be working with the shops to help prevent further offences.”
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The Sue Ryder Care, Barnardo's and Oxfam shops in Cheshire Street, Market Drayton, were all struck by burglars on the night of Sunday, through into the early hours of yesterday.
They took money from the shops and broke windows.
It comes after weeks of raids where charity shops have been burgled in Telford, Shifnal, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Much Wenlock and over the border in Welshpool.
A meeting of Market Drayton's Shopwatch group later this month will discuss the latest burglaries and potential countermeasures.
The Sue Ryder Care shop has been broken into at least six times before in the last 10 years.
Covering manager Nicky McDaid said that this time the burglar smashed their way in through a window at the front of the shop and made off with a small safe containing £474, despite it being hidden since the last burglary.
Staff had even set out a 'decoy safe' to try to throw off thieves.
"I received a phone call from the carpet shop next door saying that we had been broken into at 7.30am on Monday morning, so I came straight down," she said.
"The front window to the left as you look at the shop had been smashed inwards.
"The back door had been tried but it's steel. The frame is all broken.
"The safe was bolted, it looks like a crowbar has been used. They have made away with the safe with all the takings and the float.
"They have come in and located the safe which was quite well-hidden, I'm amazed they found it.
"You think: 'how can a human being do that?' To steal from anyone is despicable but a charity is helping people, it may be helping that person's friends or family.
"I'm an ex-police officer so I'm a bit more resilient – it's still upsetting.
"The charity just can't afford to install CCTV."
She said that the Shopwatch group involving the town's businesses, police and the town council will meet later this month and the issue will be raised.
"It does have an impact on the town and the people," Nicky said.
"Hopefully we will try and raise some funds some other way and install CCTV or some shutters on shop windows."
She said that the clean-up after the last break-in cost the shop £2,000 and that the damage this time would likely cost a similar amount.
"It's just heartbreaking and it comes out of the shop's funds," she added.
The team did reopen the shop on Monday.
Meanwhile a window had been broken and boarded up at the Oxfam store but staff said they had been advised not to comment.
A Barnardo’s spokesperson said: “We can confirm there was a break-in at our Barnardo’s charity store on Cheshire Street in Market Drayton in the early hours of Monday, January 6.
"It is estimated that in excess of £2,000 worth of damage was caused to the inside and outside of the shop.
"Staff are assisting police with their investigation and the shop was reopened to the public on Monday afternoon. We would like to thank our customers and the local community for their support following this incident.”
Police advised anyone with information on any of the burglaries to contact 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Market Drayton Town Councillor Roy Aldcroft said the burglaries were a sign that Market Drayton is seen as a "soft target" for criminals.
"Words fail me," he said. "The charity shops run on volunteers, the kit in them is donated.
"It's a sign of the times. As the technology improves the criminal fraternity tend to look for a soft target and at the moment we are one."
He said the town council hopes to install high-tech CCTV in Cheshire Street this year and has gone out to tender.
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