Detectives linking ram raids at stores
DETECTIVES are connecting ram raids that took place at two south Norfolk shops in which cigarettes and alcohol were taken over the weekend.An investigation was launched after the break-ins at the Co-operative food store in Harleston town centre and the McColls Store in Hempnall in the early hours of Saturday morning.
DETECTIVES are connecting ram raids that took place at two south Norfolk shops in which cigarettes and alcohol were taken over the weekend.
An investigation was launched after the break-ins at the Co-operative food store in Harleston town centre and the McColls Store in Hempnall in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Norfolk Police received a call at about 2am following reports of an alarm sounding at the shop in 3 Market Place, Harleston, after a dark 4x4 vehicle smashed into the front shop.
Extensive damage was caused to the front doors and windows of the store as the burglars stole an unknown quantity of cigarettes and alcohol.
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Police believe that three men were involved in the ram raid, who loaded the property into a grey Mitsubishi estate car, which was reported stolen from Poringland, near Norwich, last week.
Two hours later, a delivery driver called police at 4.30am on Saturday to report that the front doors of McColls in The Street, Hempnall, had been smashed by burglars in the latest in a series of raids in recent years. A quantity of alcohol and cigarettes were also taken.
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A spokesman for Norfolk Police said that there was a possibility that the two incidents - 13 miles apart - were linked.
For villagers in Hempnall, the incident marks the fourth break-in in the space of 18 months. Burglars forced their way through the store's double doors at about 4am on Saturday April 11 and stole bottles of spirits and cigarettes.
Four men wearing balaclavas stole the shop's safe, cigarettes and electricity cards in December. And the same village store suffered a similar incident in January last year when the front windows were smashed and two till drawers containing a quantity of cash were stolen.
Scenes of crime investigators were at the Co-op in Harleston on Saturday and the store was closed whilst workmen made the shop front secure. Police have also begun the process of looking through Harleston's CCTV footage. The McColls Store reopened on Saturday afternoon.
No-one was available for comment at either shop at the weekend.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Norwich CID on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.