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Thieves smash through wall of clothes shop before fleeing through a ditch with haul of shooting jackets

PUBLISHED: 17:49 01 November 2017

Thieves smashed a hole into the side of V&J Knitwear in King's Lynn during a break in. Picture: Sharon Coleman

Thieves smashed a hole into the side of V&J Knitwear in King's Lynn during a break in. Picture: Sharon Coleman

Sharon Coleman

Thieves smashed a hole through a wall to steal shooting jackets and hi-vis clothing from a family-run store.

Thieves smashed a hole into the side of V&J Knitwear in King's Lynn during a break in. Picture: Sharon ColemanThieves smashed a hole into the side of V&J Knitwear in King's Lynn during a break in. Picture: Sharon Coleman

The gang, who targeted the family-run V&J Knitwear store in Piper Road, on the Hardwick Narrows estate in King’s Lynn, waded through a ditch and prised open a razor-wired metal fence.

Richard Waterfield, whose parents John and Val Waterfield set up the business, said police arrived at the scene of the burglary at around 1am on Tuesday after alarms went off.

They were quickly followed by Mr Waterfield and his sister Sharon Coleman who were taken aback by the carnage left behind.

Thieves fled the scene with distinctive tweed shooting jackets which only V&J Knitwear sell in the area. Picture: Sharon ColemanThieves fled the scene with distinctive tweed shooting jackets which only V&J Knitwear sell in the area. Picture: Sharon Coleman

Mr Waterfield said: “We did not prepare for them blowing a hole in the wall, my sister was petrified. We are shocked - we are a small family business and we try to work hard.”
The intruders left bags of clothing laying in a ditch but were able to flee with high vis jackets and tweed and waxed shooting jackets, worth around £80 each.

The garments have distinctive labels Greenbelt and Bonart which only V&J sell in the area business-to-business.

Mrs Coleman believes the thieves must have cased the store before carrying out the burglary.

Family and friends at V&J Knitwear were taken aback by the carnage left behind after thieves targeted their store. Picture: Sharon ColemanFamily and friends at V&J Knitwear were taken aback by the carnage left behind after thieves targeted their store. Picture: Sharon Coleman

After smashing through the wall, they crawled along the shelves, shoving stock on to the floor, to make their way towards the shooting jackets. They left a trail of muddy footprints.

“There were clothes strewn everywhere,” said Mrs Copeman. “I was just astounded, I could not believe someone would go through all this effort, it makes you angry.

“It is not only the fact that they took the goods, it is the aftermath that has to be cleared. It is quite upsetting to think somebody has come in to figure out how to break in.”

Thieves escaped via a ditch behind the warehouse. Picture: Chris BishopThieves escaped via a ditch behind the warehouse. Picture: Chris Bishop

Since news of the burglary broke out on social media, the family - as well as their team Rick Pittard, Jack Chilvers, Perri Southwell, Jo Bonnett and Becky Nicholls - have been overwhelmed with support from the local community.

Mr Waterfield said: “They have been amazing, the amount of people who have said they will come to tidy up, they have been so kind.”

The family plan to get the spoilt stock professionally cleaned before donating them to local charities.

Some stolen items were by Bonart. Picture: Chris BishopSome stolen items were by Bonart. Picture: Chris Bishop

They are offering a £1,000 reward to anybody who can help them with information that leads to a conviction.

Some of the stolen tweed shooting coats had the Greenbelt logo. Picture: Chris BishopSome of the stolen tweed shooting coats had the Greenbelt logo. Picture: Chris Bishop

Staff are still clearing up after the raid at V&J Knitwear. Picture: Chris BishopStaff are still clearing up after the raid at V&J Knitwear. Picture: Chris Bishop

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