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Professional burglary gang targets Leigh shops
6:10am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
BURGLARS targeted three Leigh businesses in a single night in what victims say looked to be “a professional operation”.
The Subway sandwich shop, in the Broadway, Home Made Bakery, in Broadway West, and Birdwood Bakery, in Leigh Road, were burgled in the space of a few hours on Saturday night.
Safes containing a four-figure sum were stolen from Subway by thieves who forced their way through the back door. A threefigure sum was taken from Birdwood Bakery, also via the back door.
At Home Made Bakery they smashed a door and tampered with the safe, but took nothing.
Home Made’s Karen Dann, 56, said: “They smashed doors and windows to get in but, luckily, didn’t take anything or damage anything in the office.
“I think these people are almost definitely professionals.
they targeted cash businesses and probably watched to see who was busy during the day.
“Because we live nearby, my son-in-law went to investigate and came over the roof when he heard noises, but they obviously knew what they were doing because they’d closed the window after breaking in, so everything looked normal. We think he scared them off.”
A manager at Birdwood Bakery, who asked not to be named, said the shop had also been burgled two weeks ago. He blamed national chains moving in for the increase in crime.
He said: “It’s a shame it happened in Leigh. Maybe all these large chains which have appeared in the past 12 months caught the attention of the burglars.
“We didn’t have Costa, Tesco or Subway before. Thieves go where the money is.
“Unfortunately, there are always people willing to make a living off the hard work of others – and we do work hard on Saturdays – it’s our busiest day.
“We will definitely be changing the way we do things after this.”
Leigh-based Insp Brad Dickle said police would be mounting extra patrols in Leigh and bringing in a specialist burglary team to look at the shop raids.
He added: “Burglary offences on businesses are few and far between in Leigh and we are linking the three in terms of their proximity and when they took place.
“We have increased patrols where these offences are taking place with extra policing every evening until Christmas and beyond.”
Anyone with information on the burglaries is asked to call PC Siobhan Chapman at Southend police station, on 101.
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