Raiders thwarted by improved security

Essex County Standard: Raiders thwarted by improved security Raiders thwarted by improved security

RAIDERS hoping to escape with bags full of cigarettes and alcohol were thwarted by improved security.

Thieves smashed their way into the Shell garage shop, in Barfield Road, West Mersea, at about 3am on Sunday.

But they they found all the cigarettes locked away and escaped with just a few bottles of alcohol.

The same night, crooks tried to smash their way into the East of England Co-operative store, in nearby Kingsland Road, but only succeeded in causing damage.

Detectives are investigating both incidents.

Manager Kelvin Smith, whose company Miller Motor Group Ltd has only just taken over the Shell premises, said: “We were lucky there was not too much damage, so it was not too much of an issue for us or the staff.

“They might have wanted the cigarettes, but they were all locked up and they were only able to get some alcohol.

“We review security all the time and it has worked fairly well this time.”

The Co-op raid, which is being treated as criminal damage by police, is the latest in a number of incidents at village Co-op stores in north Essex. This was the first where crooks failed to get access.

During October, ram raiders drove a car through the front of the West Bergholt store and stole cigarettes.

In August, smash-and-grab raiders using an axe got through the front of the shop in High Street, Dedham, before stealing cigarettes.

A police spokesman said of the latest raid: “An object was thrown through a shop window “A small hole was created and the window cracked, but nothing was taken.” A spokesperson for the East of England Co-operative said: “We are working with the police to try to identify those responsible for the incident.

“We have a policy of reducing the amount of tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol we keep in stores to a minimum level overnight, to deter would-be thieves.”

The raid happened overnight between Saturday 14 and Sunday December 15.

Anyone with information is urged to call Colchester police on 101.

A man, 20, arrested on suspicion of burglary was later released without charge.

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