‘Idiots’ accused of ruining historic community shop after series of attempted robberies in Cavendish

Arthur Kemp is pictured at the Duck or Grouse Community Shop in Cavendish after an attempted robbery

Arthur Kemp is pictured at the Duck or Grouse Community Shop in Cavendish after an attempted robbery at the shop on Sunday. - Credit: Archant

A community shop run by elderly volunteers in a picturesque Suffolk village has been raided for the seventh time in just four years.

Duck or Grouse, the village store at The Green in Cavendish, has a history dating back as far as 1420 and is believed to be one of Britain’s oldest shops.

But since it was taken over by octogenarian Arthur Kemp and his wife Shirley, who turned it into a community shop in 2011, it has been targeted seven times by would be burglars.

Mr Kemp, 83, said the latest attempted robbery on Sunday afternoon had left volunteers “shaken” and fearing for their safety.

“It was on Sunday around 12.40pm when one of our volunteers Val was checking the till,” Mr Kemp said.

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“A man walked in wearing a fawn hooded top and a scarf over part of his face. He said ‘I want all the cash’ and went to grab the money from the cash register.

“Val hit him over the knuckles with a bottle of water she keeps behind the counter.

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“It was a real shock to her and it has left her really shaken.”

The man fled from the scene empty handed and was last seen running towards an area known as the Maltings, behind the George pub. He is described as white, of slim build and around 5ft 10” tall with a pale complexion. He was also wearing dark coloured woollen gloves.

Mr Kemp, who lives next door to the shop, said the incident was the latest in a string of attacks including one in February when someone tried to kick the door down during the early hours of the morning and another just a fortnight ago when the couple was awoken by someone attempting to “shoulder charge” the door around 4.30am on April 28.

The shop, which sells everything from newspapers and milk to sausage rolls and alcohol is run by a team of 26 volunteers and three paid staff. But Mr Kemp said he had grave concerns that the raids would deter volunteers and spoil the shop for the village.

He added: “We have set up this enterprise and are trying to run it for the benefit of the whole community and we get thwarted by idiots who are ruining it for everyone.

“We have people who volunteer here religiously in their own time and put themselves out to do so.

“Most of our volunteers who serve in the shop are elderly and they are now beginning to get nervous about working here due to the number of times we’ve been broken into.

“We all put a lot of time and effort into this venture and then you get scum like this who come along and spoil it for everyone. It’s getting really annoying.”

Police would like to hear from anyone with information that could help with their investigation, particularly if anyone matching the description was seen in the area around 1.20pm on Sunday.

Calls can be made to Suffolk police on 101, quoting crime number 37/31900/16.

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