Ipswich: Copdock Country Stores fighting back after �250k ram-raid arson attack

IPSWICH: We’re back in business!

That was the message today from bosses at a firm which was targeted by ram-raiding arsonists who caused �250,000 of damage.

Thieves broke into the Copdock Country Store building in Copdock Mill, Old London Road on February 3, after smashing through the side of the building with what police believe to be a Land Rover Defender.

Once inside, they ripped a 185kg safe from the ground and made of with it – but not before setting light to the premises.

Six fire crews were called to the scene and found flames had torn through the office and staff room, causing substantial damage to the entire building.

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Staff are still struggling to come to terms with the effect on their trade and the scale of the repairs.

But the firm is determined to continue providing a service for customers.

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Mark Gladwell, owner and chairman of the company, was due to retire just days after the incident took place.

He previously branded the thieves as “vindictive and evil criminals”.

Today, he said that the company would have a 3,000sq foot temporary retail shop on site put up by the end of March.

“Until then we are operating a small but effective service,” he added.

“All of our staff are pulling together and our customers have all been delighted to see us still trading.

“Everyone has been very supportive, our staff have been amazing, our customers have been overwhelming in their messages of support and offers of help and the local business community has been generous in their practical assistance.

“We thank every one of them.”

Currently, customers who phone in with an order can pick up their goods three hours later from a collection point outside the shop on Mondays to Fridays.

After trawling through CCTV, police have now widened their appeal for information after footage revealed that thieves had first attempted to ram the shop at 9.40pm on February 2. They then returned in the early hours of February 3 to complete the crime.

A spokesman said that police were looking for a Land Rover Defender, and also believe that another vehicle, a VW Golf, may have been involved.

He added: “Police are now widening their appeal for witnesses to incorporate the 10pm-2am window and also these vehicles, especially a Defender which had and may still have extensive front-end damage.”

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

n Have you got a message of support for Mr Gladwell and his team? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk

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