‘Soul-destroying’ shop raids

Carrie Brownlie says the break-ins have been soul-destroying
Carrie Brownlie says the break-ins have been soul-destroying

More than £10,000 worth of e-cigarettes and equipment have been stolen after a town centre shop was broken into three times in a month.

A fourth attempted burglary at the premises in Bridge Street failed, but the staff says it feels like the world is against them.

After two trouble-free years, Carrie Brownlie says the problems at Vapour Cigarettes began at the end of January.

A weekend break-in saw £1,000 worth of stock taken, attempts to get back into the shop three days later failed but criminals struck again at the end of that week, claiming a haul of £9,000.

The former Greenwood Menswear shop was targetted again last week with more stock stolen.

Speaking on behalf of the owners, Carrie said: “We feel that the police are not doing what they should and we have got all the roadworks down here which is affecting our business. Criminals have taken over £10,000 of stock and because we have been targetted three times in less than a month, the insurance companies won’t look at us now.

“It is getting beyond a joke now. I don’t know if we will pull through from this one.

“It’s soul-destroying when I am there seven days a week trying to earn a crust and it feels like the world is against me.”

Carrie said the first raid was a ‘smash and grab’ which saw the front window and a glass cabinet damaged.

The most punishing incident came on Thursday, January 26 when items valued at £9,000 were taken while the shop was ‘totally wrecked’.

She even had to stay in the shop overnight because she was unable to board the broken windows up.

Carrie believes it is not the only vaping shop to be targetted recently.

She said the e-cigarettes are items which can be easily and quickly sold on by the criminals.

The problems are compunded by footfall being affected by the improvement works in Bridge Street.

“New windows are going to cost around £10,000 and I am going to have to get shutters if we want any kind of insurance,” she said.

“We have got no money coming in, so we can’t replace the items which were stolen.

“January and February are quiet anyway but I am only taking £10 some days.

“Over the two years I have been open, I have built up a good rapport with my customers and I know that a lot used to come and park outside the shop, but they can’t any more.

“I understand the roadworks need to be done but I can’t afford to employ any more staff any more and it feels like I am just waiting for the next bad news.

“I don’t want to go into work any more.”