Shop owner threatened with knife as Walden businesses suffer thefts

Arts Decoratifs, Saffron Walden

Arts Decoratifs, Saffron Walden - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

Businesses in Saffron Walden that are trying to build themselves back up after lockdown have been targeted by thieves.

Brooks, Saffron Walden

Brooks, Saffron Walden - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

Ann Miller, owner of Arts Decoratifs off Market Hill, was threatened with a knife when she tried to stop a thief stealing from her store.

A police community support officer was also assaulted at the scene, and the thief ran off with 12 bangles worth a three-figure sum from the shop, which sells decorative art goods from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Ann said: “I was staying behind my screen and I kept hearing the cabinet opening. I ran up to this man and I asked, ‘why do you keep opening the cabinet?’ He said he didn’t. 

“He picked up a carving knife and pointed it at me. He said ‘wife birthday, wife birthday’.

Waitrose, Saffron Walden

Waitrose, Saffron Walden - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

“He left and I called the police. He came back in 10 minutes and assaulted the police community support officer and ran away.”

Ann said she felt angry because of the theft. “We are all struggling and then this happens.”

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Ann said goods have been stolen from her shop before. The first time, they were worth £5,000, and the second time £20,000.

Nicola Brooks, owner of Brooks in Rose and Crown Walk, said three items worth around £250 were stolen on the same day from her clothes shop, but the two men were different to the man who went into Ann’s shop.

Man wanted in connection to a theft in Art Decoratifs

Can you recognise this man? Police want to speak to him in connection to a theft in Art Decoratifs, Saffron Walden - Credit: Essex Police

“It was two scruffy men with Cockney accents and they were wearing big black anoraks”, Nicola said.

Shara Vickers, chair of the Saffron Walden Business Improvement District, said: “It’s a terrible shame that people can’t appreciate how hard our businesses in the town have worked to pick themselves up after lockdown.

“It’s incredibly cowardly to steal from small businesses who work so hard to keep their heads above the water. Ann and Nicola are both extremely hard-working women.”

Shara also spoke about another theft which happened in Waitrose earlier this month: “Waitrose’s manager Kathryn Horgan also works hard for the community, and it’s a business that employs local people.”

Essex Police are appealing for information about the Arts Decoratifs theft on Saturday, September 5 at 2.10pm.

A police spokesperson said: “We would like to speak to a man described as tanned with short dark hair and of stocky build.

“He was wearing a dark coloured jacket with an orange hood and blue jeans.”

Call Essex Police on 101 quoting crime reference 42/141661/20 or report online at

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