Halesworth: Thieves torch bookshop after �500 safe raid

A BOOKSELLER could be forced to close his shop for weeks after thieves broke in and set fire to stock.

Police are investigating the raid and arson attack after the fire was discovered yesterday morning in the Thoroughfare, Halesworth.

Halesworth Bookshop owner Peter Baron was alerted by neighbouring newsagent David Patrick, at about 7am.

The retained firefighter of 27 years spotted smoke and called for help.

When Mr Baron arrived, the flames had been extinguished by fire crews from Halesworth, Bungay and Saxmundham but they were unable to prevent damage to a rear office.

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Those responsible had stolen cash from a till and hacked into a wall to remove a safe containing an estimated �500.

“They could have left with that but they lit a pile of paperbacks I had stored for an event,” Mr Baron said.

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“I may have to close for a few weeks because everything is smoke-logged.

“If all my stock has gone, it could cost the business as much as �50,000.”

Mr Patrick, meanwhile, gave assurances the Halesworth community would help out where they could. “We all wish him well and will do anything we can to help,” he said.

“This just isn’t the sort of thing that happens in Halesworth.”

Police said three seat cushions were also stolen from The Carpet Shop next to the bookshop. It is thought the shops were entered at some point after 5pm on Tuesday.

Police want to hear from anyone who was in the area between then and 7am yesterday, and may have seen anything suspicious, on 01986 835300.

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