Masked gang won't beat me - shopkeeper

A Mattishall shopkeeper has vowed she will not be beaten by a masked gang that broke into her store and stole �2,500 worth of cigarettes at the weekend.

A Mattishall shopkeeper has vowed she will not be beaten by a masked gang that broke into her store and stole �2,500 worth of cigarettes at the weekend.

Gillian Currie, from Victoria Stores, in Church Plain, on Sunday told of how she was awoken in the early hours of Saturday to the sound of her shop alarm going off, and that when she looked out of her bedroom window above the store she saw three men speeding off in a car.

Mrs Currie said: 'It happened at about 2.15am. They smashed the glass in the front door of the shop with a hammer or mallet and then climbed through the door window.

'We have got CCTV footage of one person 'crowbarring' the cigarette unit off the wall and throwing it over the counter. I have a feeling they wanted to take the whole unit out to their car but they could not get it out of the door.'

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She said despite what happened she was determined to open the store at the usual time on Saturday morning after her family helped her to clear up the mess.

'I refused to be shut. I opened up as normal in the morning. People had to come in the back way because we could not get the front door open. We are not going to be beaten by what happened.

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'It is worrying. I am not making light of what happened, but the important thing is nobody got hurt. It was not life or death,' said Mrs Currie, whose husband Barry is in Addenbrookes waiting for a second liver transplant.

Police believe the same gang also tried to break into the Lyng post office between 2am and 6am on Saturday morning but were unsuccessful that time.

Det Sgt Jason Davis, of Thetford CID, said: 'We believe these two incidents are linked and are looking for anyone who witnessed either offence or has any information concerning them.'

It was the second time in a month Lyng post office had been targeted - on January 3 a gang ram-raided the post office and took a cash-filled safe.

There have been a number of other rural shops broken into recently. Three stores were raided in the Dereham and Fakenham area in the early hours of January 7. They were the Co-op store and post office in Briston Road, Melton Constable, Swanton Morley's village store in Gooseberry Hill, and Mileham Stores in Litcham Road.

In December an ATM machine was stolen from Barnham Broom village shop and a safe was taken from a McColls shop in Hempnall.

Anyone with information should contact Det Sgt Davis on 0845 4564567 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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