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Bury St Edmunds shops losing hundreds of pounds after being targeted by repeated shoplifting raids

Retailers in Bury St Edmunds have lost goods worth hundreds of pounds in what are believed to be targeted attacks by shoplifters.

Police said they were working with retailers and encouraging them to report all incidents, after business improvement district organisation Our Bury St Edmunds flagged the problem this week.

Mark Cordell, chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, said: “Over the past few weeks I have been made aware by some of our businesses that the level and frequency of retail theft has jumped quite a bit and is having a detrimental affect upon their profitability.

Abbeygate Street Picture by Mecha Morton
Abbeygate Street Picture by Mecha Morton

“Although the cost of living crisis is obviously concerning, the vast majority of these crimes appear to involve stealing high value and/or high quantity of items for selling on to others – so more of a criminal network rather than individuals stealing to feed themselves.

“The items stolen have included food and drink but also more leisure-related items and clearly specific shops are being targeted and revisited.”

Our Bury St Edmunds highlighted the problem after thieves hit independent retailers during June, with one shop being targeted five times in eight days.

Mark Cordell
Mark Cordell

The shop was first visited on June 20 and then hit three further times in the following days, before the most recent incident last Tuesday.

Mr Cordell added: “There is good quality CCTV footage of the individuals concerned and the police have been given this to assist inquiries.

“The more recent spate over a few occasions during late June targeted an independent business which cannot afford to lose stock worth hundreds of pounds.”

Area Inspector Andy Beeby said: “Police are working hard to tackle shoplifting in Bury and, together with retailers, are encouraging more reporting of incidents so we can get a better understanding of the situation.

“In June 2022 there were 46 reports of thefts from shops in the town, which is in line with the levels recorded during the pre-pandemic period of June 2019.

“The police are also working with the local council to prosecute cases wherever possible and using preventative powers such as community protection notices and criminal behaviour orders.”

From June 1-30, 2022, there were 46 reports of thefts from shops in the town, compared with 54 reports during June 2019 – the last period unaffected by Covid.

Anyone with information should contact Suffolk Police on 101.