Raids on two Saffron Walden charity shops and a hairdressers

SWS 34 Cancer Researcy 22

SWS 34 Cancer Researcy 22 - Credit: Archant

Two charity shops in Saffron Walden were among three premises where doors and windows were smashed by thieves in the early hours of Monday.

The damage at the premises of Cancer Research, St Clare Hospice and Saks Hair Salon, will cost far more to repair than the value of what was stolen.

It is the second time charity shops have been targeted this year, with thieves breaking into three stores, including St Clare Hospice, in January.

At Cancer Research, in King’s Street, thieves entered by smashing a large hole in the shop window. They stole £10.

Manager Sharon Smith, who was busily looking through the shop’s CCTV footage on Monday morning, said: “I came in at 8.30am to open up and there were dominos all over the floor. The side window was smashed and they had broken into the office.”

An office at the back of the shop has a number lock with a code. The thieves smashed through the mirror glass to open it. But Mrs Smith said nothing apart from 10 £1 coins was taken.

She said: “They looked through our foreign coin collection but decided to leave it. We weren’t broken into in the previous spate of burglaries because we have CCTV. There is a notice saying that we have CCTV on the front door but there was a pile of boxes outside so the thieves may not have seen it.”

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After sweeping up the glass, spread over the shop floor, Mrs Smith decided to open the shop later in the afternoon. She said: “We have already lost half a day’s takings. We don’t want to lose any more.”

At the St Clare Hospice shop, in Mercer’s Row, a fire door secured with a thick steel bar had been wrenched open, possibly with a crow bar. Assistant manager, Barbara Ralph said: “I found the till lying on the floor. They took the float. I saw the door to the back of the shop was open and I knew I had left it closed.

“They tried to get into the safe, they couldn’t get it open but they wrecked everything trying. We were burgled earlier this year in another spate of burglaries.”

At Saks hairdressers, owner, David Law who runs the salon in King Street, with his wife, Jo, was woken when the shop’s burglar alarm went off at 3.45am. He said: “The alarm goes straight to my mobile. It took me 20 minutes to get to the shop from our home in Finchingfield. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a false alarm and then my wife phoned the police at 4am. No one came until the scenes of crime officer at 11am. It’s possible that the thieves were still in the other two shops when we rang. Perhaps we could have caught them. We will be installing CCTV from now on.”

The thieves took four sets of GHD (Good Hair Day) hair straighteners from the salon window, which sell at £125 each. They also took cash from the till. Mr and Mrs Law will have to replace the door and the sash window, which will be expensive because the building is listed.

Mr Law, said: “This is the second time we have been burgled, the last time was about four years ago.”

A statement from Essex police said forensic examinations of the crime scenes had taken place.

Anyone who wishes to leave cash donations for either of the charity shops can send them to the Saffron Walden Reporter at 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CM10 1EE, and we will pass them on.