Felixstowe: Happi Pets owners blame burglar for closure

A PROLIFIC burglar has been blamed for the closure of a long-running family business after targeting it twice in just a few weeks.

Mark Lewis stole �3,500 from Happi Pets in his first raid on the Felixstowe shop last November, and then returned the following month and caused �3,500 worth of damage.

He was later arrested in connection with a string of burglaries in the resort’s town centre and pleaded guilty to five break-ins when he appeared at court.

He asked for 13 other crimes, including the Happi Pets raids, to be taken into consideration before being jailed for two years.

His break-ins at the pet shop and aquatics centre in Grange Road left the family so upset and cost them so much money they decided they could not continue.

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After 24 years in business they decided to close down and sell the premises.

Happi Pets was started by Jeff Page. After his death from cancer seven years ago, his widow Eileen and his daughters Sonia, Donna, Mandi and Lorraine decided the business should carry on.

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It went from strength to strength, supported by loyal customers from across the area.

“The break-ins by Mark Lewis were awful and hit us really badly – it finished us off,” said Sonia.

“The first time he got away with �3,500 cash and the next time he caused �3,500 of damage – smashing the tills, the patio doors and glass to get out.

“The impact of this sort of incident on businesses can be horrible and very expensive to deal with and is a lot of hassle – we are still sorting things out with our insurers even now.

“We didn’t know if he would come back again. We had to close.”

Lewis – described at Ipswich Crown Court as “an habitual offender” – also broke into opticians Specsavers, designer clothes shop OMG, travel agents Thomson Travel and the Concord Asia shipping company in Hamilton Road.

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