Debden Village Shop to re-open following ram-raid

09:48 28 August 2014

The scene of destruction at Debden Village Shop.

The scene of destruction at Debden Village Shop.

Archant

Shoppers will be “amazed” by the transformation of Debden Village Shop when it is reopened this weekend – two months after it was destroyed by ram-raiders.

The store has undergone a massive revamp after a Jaguar was driven through a wall at the front of the building at the end of June. Members of the Debden Village Shop Committee hoped it would be open within a week but the damage was far greater than originally expected.

Despite the setback, after two months of work the doors to the convenience shop, which is also a post office twice a week, will once again be opened on Sunday by the eldest person born in the village and has never left, Nora Woolner.

Chairman of the village shop committee, Nina Manser, said: “It will be very exciting. We have tried to give the whole shop a new look. When the customers come through the door they will be quite amazed. It feels a whole lot bigger.

“It has taken two months because we had not realised the extent of the damage that had been done by the ram-raiders. Structurally a lot of the front wall had to be taken down and rebuilt.

“This has affected the whole village. It has been a very traumatic experience.”

Damage caused by the ram-raid meant that a new interior, including flooring, shelving and counter was needed and equipment such as the chiller and coffee machine needed to be replaced.

All frozen and chilled foods had to be replaced along with many packaged items and the entire stationery stock.

“A positive has come out of it. It was such a terrible mess but we have been able to carry out improvements,” said Mrs Manser, who has lived in the village for 32 years.

The vehicle used in the ram-raid, a Jaguar Sovereign, had been stolen from Ozier Court, Saffron Walden and was found on fire in fields backing on to Usterdale Road and Buckenhoe Road on June 30, shortly after the raid is believed to have taken place.

Chocolate bars were stolen but nothing else.

Two men were arrested in connection with the incident and released on bail until tomorrow (Thursday).

Debden Village Shop opened 32 years ago and was the first community shop in the county. It relies on grants and volunteers to survive.

The grand opening will take place between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Sunday.

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