Video: Islington Budgens raided by moped thieves three times in five months
PUBLISHED: 06:30 15 January 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 15 January 2015
A convenience store which has been raided by a gang of moped-riding thieves three times in five months could be forced to close if it is hit again, says its manager.
Budgens in Packington Street opened in February last year but has suffered thousands of pounds worth of losses through the theft of cigarettes and alcohol and the damage caused through the smash-and-grab raids.
CCTV footage from the raids, which began in August, show what appears to be the same group of at least six, wearing motorcycle helmets and dressed in black, emptying shelves of goods into bags and even down their trousers.
Sudesh Patel, manager at the store, said: “If we keep on losing this sort of money I don’t see how we can keep going really.
“We’ve got a nice shop and we’ve employed people from the local job centre in an attempt to help out in the community, which makes this even more disheartening.
“We also have a lot of problems with theft from the store during the daytime.”
When the shop was first burgled in August the thieves emptied the cigarette counter of about £7,000 worth of tobacco products, as well as leaving the shop with the £2,000 cost of replacing the window.
Mr Patel then put a metal cage over the cigarettes, but this only led to the thieves making off with more than £1,000 of spirits.
Police have been unable to identify the suspects despite the presence of a traffic camera directly outside the shop, which faces northwest up Packington Street..
“They’ve spent all this money renovating Packington Estate, you would think they would get some more cameras,” said Mr Patel, 52.
“We want to put shutters up but it goes against the planning guidelines for the shop. We might have to just do it and face the consequences because it’s getting ridiculous.”
Peter Flack, 65, a regular in the shop who lives on the Packington Estate, said: “It’s the yobs on bikes from the estate, we’ve had lots of problems with them.
“It’s a disgrace, the man’s trying to make a living.”
Islington has been linked to several high profile smash-and-grab raids in the last few years, with police openly stating that the borough was a problem area.
The first raid took place on August 22 before the thieves hit the store twice in three weeks on December 12 and January 2.
Despite police carrying out a “thorough” investigation, including forensics, door-to-door and CCTV enquiries, they have been unable to identify the suspects involved.
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