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Thieves break into Headley community shop with sledgehammer




HEADLEY was left stunned on Monday night after thieves broke into the community shop and stole hundreds of pounds worth of tobacco and cigarettes.

At around 10.35pm, two criminals wearing masks smashed their way through the glass front door with a sledgehammer, heading directly to the back of the shop where the cigarettes were kept.

They filled a bag with the stolen goods and left the way they came in, just 90 seconds after entering.

Break in at Headley Community shop - Volunteers outside shop.Ref: 25-1221... (48497129)
Break in at Headley Community shop - Volunteers outside shop.Ref: 25-1221... (48497129)

Chair of the shop’s committee Carol-Anne Rhatigan said it was “quite depressing” that the thieves – who had peered through the shop’s window at around 10.05pm to ensure it was empty – were most likely familiar with the shop.

She said: “In the grand scheme of things we’re very lucky – they didn’t vandalise the shop, they just came straight in and stole cigarettes.

“It’s somebody that knew where they were, which is quite depressing.

Break in at Headley Community shop - Volunteers outside shop.Ref: 25-1221... (48497125)
Break in at Headley Community shop - Volunteers outside shop.Ref: 25-1221... (48497125)

“For me, it’s upsetting that it’s somebody that comes into the shop.

“It could be somebody you talk to all the time, you just don’t know. It’s a horrible feeling.”

First on the scene was the committee’s vice chair Graham Stewart and his wife Penny, who had been notified by the shop’s alarm.

Mr Stewart said: “My reaction wasn’t printable – it was 10.30pm at night.

“I didn’t know someone had broken in, sometimes the alarm goes off for other reasons.”

Mrs Stewart added: “We came round the corner and the first thing you see is all the glass shattered with a hole in the middle, and glass everywhere.”

The shop, which is run by volunteers, now hopes to install a roller shutter to better protect the entrance.

Mrs Rhatigan and the Stewarts all paid tribute to the local community, who had immediately jumped into action to secure and fix the shop.

Mrs Rhatigan said: “We’re really lucky to have an amazing community.”

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: “Officers are investigating after we received a call at 10.50pm yesterday, Monday June 21, reporting a break in at the Headley Community Shop on Thornford Road.

“The incident happened at around 10.35pm.

“Entry was gained via a window that was smashed and cigarettes were stolen.

“If anyone saw anything suspicious at around this time or has any information that may assist our investigation, please call 101 quoting 44210244406.

“Alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”



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