Copdock: Store owner’s fury as ram raid thieves torch building

A BUSINESSMAN today told of his anger and sadness after thieves broke into his store, stole a safe containing thousands of pounds and then set fire to the building.

Six fire crews were despatched to the blaze which engulfed the Copdock Country Stores building at Copdock Mill in Old London Road, Copdock.

Crews were called at 1.35am yesterday. The flames had torn through an office and staff room, causing substantial damage to the entire building.

The property was heavily smoke-logged and firefighters struggled to enter the building as the entrance was blocked by roller shutter doors. The flames were eventually put out by 3.30am.

But before the blaze was even started, thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused when thieves rammed a vehicle into the front of the single-storey building, causing the wall to collapse.

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A police spokesman told The Evening Star that thieves stole a safe containing “a four-figure sum”.

Mark Gladwell, owner of the company, which sells animal food products and has several stores across the county, said he was devastated.

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“I was first alerted at 1.20am when the burglar alarm went off – but it wasn’t a normal activation, it had activated itself because of power loss.

“I instantly knew that something wasn’t right.

“On looking at the CCTV, it appears that the vehicle had broken through the front wall of the building by ramming it several times.

“They then went on to steal the safe and considering that it was a brand new 140kg safe that was bolted to the floor, I just can’t believe it.

“It was bad enough for them to do that, but to then turn around and set fire to the building is just awful.”

Mr Gladwell said the cost of the blaze was not yet known, but said that the sheer amount of smoke and heat damage, as well as the structural damage would take a lot of repair work.

In addition, about 15 fish died when the car ploughed into the wall and crushed the tank.

The police spokesman added: “At this stage, we are appealing for information and especially anyone who saw a vehicle or who knows of one which has extensive front-end damage.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact detectives at Ipswich police station on 01473 613500.

Customers are advised to keep checking the company’s website for updates on trading. Visit www.copdock

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