THE owner of a family-run business has thanked the community for rallying behind him following a burglary.
A gang of at least six burglars raided Montagne Sports in Hermitage in the early hours of Monday.
Owner Alan Barrie arrived to find that the doors to the shop and a window had been smashed in.
Computer equipment and a television were also trashed.
It took just 11 minutes between the burglars breaking in and the CCTV feed cutting out.
The gang left with winter clothing, ski gear, cash and, strangely, Panama hats.
Mr Barrie said: “They didn’t need to do both. One was enough but they did it out of nastiness, I think.
“They were all covered so we have no idea who they are. They had thick jackets, hoods and gloves.
“One guy was on the phone so I’m guessing he was asking what was worth nicking.
“It has taken a couple of days to sort it out. We just have to pick ourselves up
“The ski wear was very important to us, that’s our main business. I’m worried about where the weak points are now, and we will sort this.”
Mr Barrie, who has run the business in Priors Court Road for two years, said he was hopeful that the damage would be covered on his insurance.
But he said the real assurance had come from the community rallying round to support him.
He said: “We have had so many offers, I have been humbled.
“I feel like crying because people are so kind and so helpful.”
Mr Barrie takes part in Cold Ash’s Castle Inn pub quiz and other members cancelled to go and help at the shop.
His daughter’s old schoolteacher had also asked what he could do to help out.
He said: “I’m so impressed with the local community. I thank everybody for showing that there is humanity out there.”
With the community’s help, the business re-opened yesterday (Wednesday).
Anyone with any information about the incident should call 101 and quote reference 84 30/10.