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‘Workmen’ a stunt front to Lewes charity theft
Two burglars set up an elaborate “emergency scene” to break into a charity shop and steal £20.
Shoppers watched as the thieves cordoned off the Red Cross Shop – not realising they were witnessing a burglary.
The men came equipped with a work van and hazard tape to cordon off the shop in Station Street, Lewes.
The thieves kicked their way into the locked shop and made off with the contents of two charity buckets.
They did not attempt to take anything else. Staff believed that they may have been disturbed.
The thieves caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage to the building which will have to be paid for out of money raised through the sales of donated clothes. This is because the cost of repairing the damage is not worth the cost of the insurance premium.
Speaking yesterday (January 31), shop manager Debra Flood, who lives in South Heighton, near Newhaven, said: “We originally thought it was just a random break-in.
“But then, by speaking to people in the area, we realised that there was more to it.
“One of the assistant managers left the shop on Saturday evening at about 5.40pm.
“Almost instantly people said that they saw two ‘workmen’ pull up in a van and park in the loading bay.
“They got out and they used yellow and black hazard tape to block off the shop.
“People who we know, another shopkeeper and shop regulars, saw what they were doing.
“They thought we were having work done out of hours when it was quieter. I would’ve thought the same thing if I was them.
“They seem to have gone to an awful lot of trouble for very little money.”
Sussex Police confirmed the incident had been reported.
Commander of Lewes District, Chief Inspector Jason Tingley said: “It always amazes me how criminals find new ways of committing thefts and this is very distinctive and we have not found it before it Lewes.
“We would appeal for anyone with information about this particular offence to come forward and would urge shopkeepers, particularly those in charity shops, to be vigilant.
“Please call if you see anything suspicious.”
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