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'They were just looting' - Funeral cards, toilet roll, cash and Prosecco stolen in spate of town break-ins

PUBLISHED: 14:13 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:10 07 February 2020

Independent shops in Downham Market were broken into. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Independent shops in Downham Market were broken into. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2016

'Mindless' criminals broke into a number of independent shops in a Norfolk town stealing a range of peculiar items.

Criminals targeted independent shops in Downham Market's town centre. Picture: Sarah HussainCriminals targeted independent shops in Downham Market's town centre. Picture: Sarah Hussain

Noodlepip, BlueBells Florist, Mackies and Elizabeth The Florist in Downham Market were broken into sometime overnight between Monday, January 20, and Tuesday, January 21.

Criminals broke into the town centre shops using a ladder that was suspected to have been taken from one property to gain access to two other properties.

Kate Shipp, manager at Elizabeth The Florist, said burglars got in through the first floor window using a ladder and stole around £80 of cash, funeral cards, six toilet rolls and a bottle of Prosecco.

She said: "I presume they went for the soft targets.

Criminals targeted independent shops in Downham Market's town centre. Picture: Sarah HussainCriminals targeted independent shops in Downham Market's town centre. Picture: Sarah Hussain

"It's the first time in 16 years we've been broken into.

"They took toilet roll of all things. It was taken out of its packaging as well.

"It's very odd.

"I think they drank the Prosecco whilst they were in here as they left the cork on my work bench."

Criminals targeted independent shops in Downham Market's town centre. Picture: Sarah HussainCriminals targeted independent shops in Downham Market's town centre. Picture: Sarah Hussain

The manager said the criminals have "no conscience" after they made off with funeral cards which were meant to be displayed in flowers at a funeral service.

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She said: "The most upsetting thing for me is the cards. Someone had posted them through the letter box and they'd taken that.

"They must have thought it was cash.

Note left on the door at Noodlepip after the shop was broken into. Picture: Sarah HussainNote left on the door at Noodlepip after the shop was broken into. Picture: Sarah Hussain

"Other things can be replaced but those can't. We missed the cards on someone's tribute because of that."

Other items stolen during the burglaries included cash, a metal bench and a vintage door.

Katie Catterall, manager at Noodlepip, said: "They took a beautiful stable door that I was going to work on.

"It weighs a tonne so it would have taken two people to carry it.

"They emptied my fridge out the back as well. They were just looting.

"They're not high end criminals. They're just burglaring tiny businesses that can't afford the cost of damages.

"It's mindless really, they're not achieving anything."

Officers are interested to hear from anyone who may have seen a person walking around Downham Market High Street, Paradise Road, or Bridge Street overnight carrying a 8-10ft step ladder.

Anyone with information or significant dash cam or CCTV footage from the area at the time should contact PC Andy Smith at Downham Market police station on 101, quoting crime number 36/5043/20.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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