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Shirley shopkeeper: 'I felt sick after seeing aftermath of ram raid'

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A SHOPKEEPER has spoken of his "hell" after burglars ram-raided his shop before stealing cigarettes and alcohol worth more than £10,000.

Harjeet Singh Grover, 45, received a frantic phone call at 4am on Friday telling him his shop alarm was bellowing due to burglars smashing into it head-on in a vehicle.

By the time he got to Orchard Stores, in Orchard Way, Shirley, a trail of devastation had been left behind with the whole shopfront smashed in and shattered glass scattered everywhere.

Mr Singh Grover, who has run the store for ten years, said: "I just felt sick when I saw it. I mean the damage when I came here, I just couldn't believe it.

"It's unbelievable. You see things like this in the news and you just don't expect it to happen to you.

"We have been broken into three or four times since I came here and this is definitely the worst.

"It was like someone had set off a bomb here. They've completely trashed the place.

"We have little money these days with big supermarkets trying to undercut us all the time and so this really doesn't help us. It's making our life hell.

"They got my cigarettes and some expensive alcohol and they took all my lottery money which we'd collected the day before."

The shopkeeper pays £24,000 a year in rent to keep the store running and £7,500 council tax.

"The price of running this place isn't going down," he added.

"This couldn't come at a worse time. These people don't know the damage they do."

He estimates the haul was worth more than £10,000 – the cigarettes being worth £9,000 alone – with several more thousand pounds-worth of damage.

Police found an abandoned Hyundai vehicle in Orchard Grove later the same day, which forms part of their inquiries.

Officers believe up to five people could be behind the crime, but are calling for witnesses to come forward with information. No arrests had been made at the time of going to press.

A Met spokesman said: "We can confirm we are investigating a burglary at a shop in Orchard Way at approximately 4.40am on January 18.

"It is believed that a vehicle has driven into the front of the shop several times and suspects have then stolen a large amount of cigarettes from the shop before making off.

"Officers discovered a Hyundai X2 vehicle abandoned in Orchard Grove later [and] inquiries are on-going to establish if the vehicle was involved in the burglary."

Call Croydon police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 with information.

Shirley shopkeeper: 'I felt sick after seeing aftermath of ram raid'


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