PICTURES: Community ‘devastated’ by Debden shop ram-raid

Debris from the shopfront was strewn across the entrance. Debris from the shopfront was strewn across the entrance.

Monday, June 30, 2014
1:28 PM

A community was in defiant mood this morning (Monday) as the clean-up operation got underway following a ram-raid of their village shop.

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The scene of destruction at Debden Village Shop.The scene of destruction at Debden Village Shop.

The management committee of Debden Village Shop has vowed to re-open the store “by the end of the week” despite the estimated £15,000 damage inflicted by a Jaguar driven through the shop’s wall.

Police believe thieves had been trying to get into the shop’s Post Office but were unsuccessful. The break-in triggered the shop’s alarm, which woke the residents who alerted police, before one of the suspects made off with a handful of chocolate bars.

Store manager Karen Roper told the Reporter the community was “heartbroken” by the raid.

She said: “It’s devastating for us. We’re waiting for a structural engineer to arrive and assess the damage. Once this has been done we can continue tidying up but a lot of this stock we won’t be able to use. We’re unsure how long it is going to take to repair it all.”

The shop's management committee said the damaged stock will have to be thrown away.The shop's management committee said the damaged stock will have to be thrown away.

Vice chairman of the shop committee, Trudie Tagert, said: “It’s terrible. We have a number of volunteers here and all of us work so hard for the community. It’s just so sad.

“We are not an angry village – we’re a very happy one that works together. But this has made us angry. We are hurt and upset by this but we will not be beaten. We will be open again by the end of the week.”

The vehicle used in the ram-raid, a Jaguar Sovereign, had been stolen from Ozier Court, Saffron Walden and was later found on fire in fields backing on to Usterdale Road and Buckenhoe Road.

Officers said there had been an attempt to steal a Fiat Punto, also in Ozier Court, prior to the theft of the Jaguar.

Debden Village Shop is an award-winning store which opened 32 years ago. It relies on grants and volunteers from the community to survive.

Chairman of the shop committee, Nina Manser, said this incident was the second time the store had been targeted by thieves.

“About 15 years ago the store was broken into,” she explained. “There was an awful mess but not much was taken. But it’s the clean-up operation that hurts us and the lost revenue because of our inability to open the shop.”

• A 21-year-old man from Saffron Walden and a 24-year-old man from Stansted Mountfitchet were arrested on suspicion of burglary and theft of a motor vehicle.

The pair have been bailed until August 28 pending further police enquiries.

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