POLICE are appealing for help to catch burglars who broke into a Uttoxeter business and stole £35,000 worth of stock.
Between 6pm on Tuesday, June 17 and 6am on June 18, offenders broke into The Hotspot retail unit on the Dovefields Industrial Estate and stole wood burning stoves, range cookers and kitchen equipment with a retail value of more than £35,000.
The offenders forced entry to the unit and loaded the items into a waiting vehicle outside.
Howard McCallun, co-director of Hotspot which has been based in Uttoxeter for 35 years, said the burglary had been ‘difficult to deal with’ on an emotional level, but wished to reassure customers that it was ‘business as usual’ at the Dovefields premises.
He said: “On the morning we were alerted by the landlord that the door had been left open.
“Police were there quickly and on the scene within the hour.
“A number of stoves and wood burners were stolen along with petty cash.
“Our initial feeling is that it’s a difficult emotion to deal with being broken into, but we have to rise above it, we’ve got a business to run.
“It’s going to take some time before we’re back to normal but we are confident that its business as usual as far as our customers are concerned.”
Mr McCallun added that though this was the second break-in for the firm during the last six months, the robbery would not stop Hotspot from staying in the Dovefields industrial estate premises.
He said: “Our prime focus is on our customers and continuing with business.
“We’re also fortunate in that a church over in Burton came over to help us get over the impact – the Kingdom Advance Network from Burton which was lovely.
“We’ve been in Uttoxeter for 35 years and moved to our premises here four years ago.
“We love it here and things like this are not going to stop us from staying here.
“The burglars were caught on video and the items taken are fairly easily identifiable.
“What we’d like to say to Uttoxeter people is if you suspect you are being sold a stolen item is to report it to police immediately.
“We’ve had one break in six months ago which we now believe was to gather information to prepare for this break in.
“The business has always been in Uttoxeter and we’ll continue to be open for business here.
“We were originally based in the high street but moved to the industrial estate due to the nature of our business.”
Anyone who has information relating to this incident is asked to contact Staffordshire Police by ringing 101 quoting incident 103 of 18 June or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The news comes just a month after vandals threw paint, smashed glass and damaged vehicles at five businesses, including one charity, in an overnight attack at nearby Brookside Business Park.
Offenders used cans of discarded paint to throw at the premises and smashed glass in an act of ‘wanton hooliganism’, causing a considerable amount of damage and distress to the business owners.
They also smashed wing mirrors and wind screens of vehicles left on site.