Hero shop owner comes to the rescue and stops would-be thieves in Saffron Walden

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 December 2016

Edyta's Polish Delicatessen

Edyta's Polish Delicatessen

Archant

A would-be thief in a town centre shop was thwarted when a neighbouring hero store owner spotted the crime and intervened.

Matthew Lewis HairdressingMatthew Lewis Hairdressing

Matthew Lewis, owner of the hairdressers in Saffron Walden High Street, was waiting for his next customer when through the window he saw a man go behind the counter at Edyta’s Polish Delicatessen – which is directly opposite – while the shopkeeper’s back was turned.

Edyta Kowalczyk, the shop owner, was slicing meat with a loud electrical cutter and did not hear the man.

She said the would-be thief, thought to be in his mid-20s, was trying to grab handfuls of sweets and non-alcoholic beer, while his two friends watched urging him to stop.

Mr Lewis rushed across the road and “told them to get out of town”.

He said: “We all have to look out for ourselves, too many people turn a blind eye to these things.”

The incident happened at around 12.30pm last Thursday (November 24).

The police were contacted, but officers did not call back until two hours later, asking if the men were still in the shop – they were not.

Ms Kowalczyk has decided not to report the incident further, as nothing was stolen.

She said: “I couldn’t hear anything because the machine was working but I sensed someone was there.

“I pushed him away from the till, but he was behaving very strangely, he seemed like he had taken drugs.

“It makes me wonder if the town is safe now – but there are still people who can help, and people are looking out for each other.

“A big thank you to Matthew for helping me.”

Three men matching their description are believed to have scouted out other shops in the town centre before the incident, including a jewellery shop where staff sensed trouble when one of them came inside and asked about gold rings worth £3,000.

But Amanda Dewen, manager at Finery and Co, decided to refuse to open the display cabinet for him, and the three men moved on.

She said: “It makes me feel absolutely vulnerable, it makes you feel that this area is being targeted.

“But we are always really vigilant because we are a jewellery shop.”

Essex Police say they did not immediately come to the shop because they have to prioritise incidents, and have not followed it up since because no crime has been reported.

It says: “Efforts were made to contact the store but no offences have been reported.

“Officers spoke to the caller and gave advice.

“The call to the police was made with good intent.

“Each call taken by police is assessed against a number of factors including threat, harm, risk and vulnerability, and is prioritised accordingly.”

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