Dereham shop burgled – and thieves only took small and medium sizes

Z's clothes shop in Dereham was broken into on Friday night. Pictured outside is Mel Russell. Picture: Ian Burt Z's clothes shop in Dereham was broken into on Friday night. Pictured outside is Mel Russell. Picture: Ian Burt

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
2:31 PM

A fledgling fashion business run by a hardworking mother and daughter has been dealt a major setback after thieves broke in and stole clothing worth £2,500.

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Z's clothes shop in Dereham was broken into on Friday night. Picture shows the hole in the ceiling the burglars made for their entry and escape. Picture: Ian BurtZ's clothes shop in Dereham was broken into on Friday night. Picture shows the hole in the ceiling the burglars made for their entry and escape. Picture: Ian Burt

A fledgling fashion business run by a hardworking mother and daughter has been dealt a major setback after thieves broke in and stole clothing worth £2,500.

Val Grigglestone and Mel Russell opened the men’s clothing shop Z’s in Dereham in August after leaving their office jobs to “get a better quality of life”. But on Friday night burglars climbed onto the roof of the building near the Cherry Tree car park, smashed through the ceiling and stole stock and caused damage worth a total of £3,000.

Mrs Grigglestone, 57, from Scarning, found dirty footprints down the wall and clothes and mannequins strewn over the floor when she opened the shop the following morning.

“It’s sickening that these scum bags can come in and take what has taken six months for us to build up,” she said.

“We have forfeited luxury items to get nice stock to sell and they just come in and help themselves. “We are honest people. We are trying to get a better quality of life. We just wanted to do something that is all ours, that’s what we have strived to do.” About 70 designer t-shirts, polo-shirts, hooded jumpers, jeans, boxer shorts, and leather belts were taken – but only in sizes small and medium.

Among the missing items were brands such as Firetrap, Bench, Tokyo Laundry, Ben Sherman, Voy, Lambretta and French Connection. The store is named after Miss Russell’s seven-year-old son Zack Lain, and is the place in the town to sell only men’s clothes.

Since opening, the owners say it has proved a popular destination for shoppers – but said the road works carried out by National Grid have hampered their trade in recent weeks. “Our sales have been down by two thirds since the road works in the town, so we thought this Saturday would be our day to build back up again,” said Miss Russell, 35.

“The thieves don’t realise what mess they have left behind. Now it’s like we have gone back to the day we first opened.”

Norfolk police said there have been two other similar incidents last year where burglars broke-in through the roof. Letters have been sent to shop owners warning them to be cautious.

At a meeting on Tuesday night Dereham Town Council was told the new priorities for the Safer Neighbourhood Action Panel included tackling shop thefts in the town centre, after about half a dozen break-ins had recently been reported at stores in the town. Mrs Grigglestone and Miss Russell want to thank people for their support since the break-in – especially a man only known as Danny who contacted the police when he saw the damage to the shop.

Police are keen to speak to anyone who may have spotted anything suspicious in the area or has been offered the items for sale in unusual circumstances.

Anyone with information should contact PC Adam Scott on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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