Staff shocked by third raid at shop

STAFF at a vital town store have been left reeling after being targeted by raiders for the third time in just over two months.Detectives say the latest attack on the Co-op store in Clare could be connected to a number of similar raids that have occurred in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in recent weeks.

STAFF at a vital town store have been left reeling after being targeted by raiders for the third time in just over two months.

Detectives say the latest attack on the Co-op store in Clare could be connected to a number of similar raids that have occurred in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire in recent weeks.

Police were called to the store, on Market Hill, at around 3.10am yesterday when a member of the public heard smashing glass and saw three men, all wearing balaclavas, stealing cigarettes from inside the shop.

It is believed the raiders fled through a back door with an unknown quantity of tobacco.


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The theft comes just weeks after ram-raiders used a stolen red Ford Fiesta to smash through the front of the shop on November 4 and again stole a large quantity of cigarettes.

On that occasion eyewitnesses saw a light coloured hatchback, possibly a Vauxhall, and a dark coloured Peugeot leaving the scene at speed in the direction of Stoke-by-Clare.

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Also, on the same day, ram-raiders used stolen vehicles to smash through the One Stop Shop in Reynolds Way, Ipswich, and another Co-op store in North Street, Burwell, on the Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border.

It is believed the raiders wore balaclavas and were armed with baseball bats during all three raids on November 4.

Thieves first struck at the Clare Co-op on October 20. On that occasion the robbers broke into the store in the early hours of the morning and again took a stash of cigarettes.

A Co-op spokesman said: "Despite changes to security arrangements at the Clare Co-op following previous incidents, a quantity of stock was stolen from the store at around 3am this morning.

"Once again, CCTV footage has been passed to the police who are investigating the incident, and further changes will be made to security arrangements.

"Naturally, staff at the store are exasperated by the disruption caused by these incidents and we would appeal for anyone with information to come forward and speak to the police."

Detective Sergeant Andrew Smith, of Suffolk police, is leading the investigation into the latest attack.

He said: "We would like to hear from anyone who has any information relating to this offence.

"It may be that the offenders carried out a reconnaissance of the area prior to the offence.

"Clare is a relatively small town and we hope someone will have seen people acting suspiciously in the days or even weeks leading up to the offence.

"Although we are keeping an open mind we will also be investigating to determine if this offence is linked with the earlier attack on this premises and others that happened in the area on November 4."

Anyone with any information should contact Haverhill CID on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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