£8k cigarettes theft in smash and grab

Bridport and Lyme Regis News: SHOCKED: Parkdean convenience store manager Grace Offord by the window that was smashed in the raid SHOCKED: Parkdean convenience store manager Grace Offord by the window that was smashed in the raid

THIEVES fled with £8,000 worth of cigarettes after smashing a door of the convenience store attached to Parkdean holiday park in West Bay.

Police are appealing for witnesses who might have seen anyone acting suspiciously around the site on Thursday night.

Shop manager Grace Offord arrived at work on Friday morning to find broken glass all over the floor and a large quantity of cigarettes missing.

She said: “It was all just smashed.

“As far as I am aware this is the first time this has happened, certainly since we have been here this season. It was not a great start to the morning.

“They targeted the cigarettes and must have been very quick. I would like to appeal to anyone who might have been a witness. It is scary, I have never worked anywhere before that has been broken into.”

Miss Offord said although it made for a vulnerable feeling, the community had rallied around to help.

She added: “We have a community here and it is not like I feel like I am on my own with this. We have had people check in and our bosses are brilliant.

“I feel like the community has helped us with their support. It is scary but the whole world can’t stop for it, you have to just keep going.”

Bridport Police Inspec-tor Mike Darby said police had interviewed a 50-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman both from Christchurch after they were arrested on Saturday at a campsite near Bridport.

The couple have now been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Insp Darby said: “We are appealing for anyone who may have seen anybody acting suspiciously around the shop between 11pm and 7am to contact us or anybody with any information about people selling cheap cigarettes.

“Cigarettes have a disposable market and it is very hard to trace them.

“There is already a black market in cigarettes which have avoided custom duties.

“But people have to be aware that if they are buying cheap cigarettes off somebody and they believe they are stolen they are committing a criminal offence.”

Insp Darby said it was not a victimless crime, with the shop owners having to pay for repairs and to replace stolen property.

He added: “Burglaries of this nature are rare, however, they do happen and we want to work with small businesses and industry in relation to crime prevention.

“While some businesses may decide an alarm system is too expensive, it probably isn’t that expensive and insurance costs may be reduced if they install a monitored alarm system. Police will always attend when alarms are activated.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101, crime number 26847.

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