BURGLARS carried out a second rooftop raid on a jeweller’s shop just 24 hours after escaping with thousands of pounds’ worth of gold.
Now the 79-year-old owner of Hackler’s, in Preston city centre, has decided to quit after a lifetime in the business, claiming: “I’ve had this aggro for 60 years – but this time I’ve had enough.”
The thieves got away with a haul of gold earrings and chains after climbing a ladder on to the roof of the shop in Lune Street and smashing through the ceiling early on Sunday.
They returned for a second go on Monday morning, using the same ladder, but fled empty-handed after they were thwarted by reinforced doors inside the premises.
Norman Oldfield, who is approaching his 80th birthday, has now said he will start to wind up the business and retire.
“I was intending to finish in the middle of next year,” said angry Norman. “But now I’m going to wind things down and close earlier.
“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been the victim of theft over the years. It’s getting too stressful at my age.”
The burglars used ladders to get on to the roof of the shop early on Sunday. They smashed their way into the building, leaving holes in the roof and the ceiling.
Insurers are still assessing the value of the haul, which included gold ear rings and chains.
But after clearing up the mess, Norman was called back to the shop early on Monday to find the raiders had re-visited the premises, using the same ladders to climb in again.
“This time we had sealed up the doors and taken the handles off, so they couldn’t get down into the shop,” he said. “So they left empty-handed.
“I couldn’t believe that after such a brazen break-in on Sunday, they tried it again so soon after. And through the roof again.
“I’ve been in the jewellery business for 66 years and I’ve had to put up with this sort of thing for most of that time.
“All jewellers get it – people try to steal off us all the time. It’s nothing knew, although it is a bit different they decided to come in through the roof. That’s a first.
“I can’t put a value on what they stole first time because I’m waiting for the assessors to tot it up. But I can say they got a good haul – thousands of pounds.”
For Norman, this will be his second attempt at retirement. Two years ago he packed up, but returned to the shop after the company which took it on closed down.
“I promised my wife, who’s 82, that I would finish for good next year and we could retire properly. It will happen a bit earlier now. I’m going to start sorting things out.
“I can’t shut straight away because I’ve got a jewellery repair business here too and I’ve got to finish the work I’ve taken on and get things back to people.
“But it will be sooner than I planned after this. I’ve had enough.”
Police have issued an appeal for help tracking down the raiders. If anyone saw anything suspicious on either morning - or anyone behaving suspiciously in the days before the burglaries - please could they get in touch.
Call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.