Longridge shopkeepers call for greater police presence after smash and grab raids at 11 businesses in a month

Audacious smash and grab raiders have returned to a Ribble Valley town 11 times in the past month.

By Fiona Finch
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 9:45 am

Businesses on Longridge’s high street, Berry Lane, have been the main target of the thieves.

Those hit by break-ins include Berry Antiques & Interiors, Berry Lane newsagent's, 65’s cafe, the YMCA charity shop (twice) and a barber's.

The intruders got away with slim takings, thought to be in the hundreds of pounds, but have left a trail of smashed doors and windows.

The smashed glass at Berry Lane Newsagents

Now shopkeepers, whose businesses have been disrupted, are demanding a greater police presence in the town and the issue will be discussed at the town council’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

Police today appealed for anyone who might have caught the intruders on dashcams or CCTV to contact them and share the footage if they have not already done so.

The latest break-in was at the Forrest Arms on Derby Road which was broken into overnight on Sunday/Monday this week. The first break-in was on June 1.

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Ellie Halsall, proprietor of Berry Antiques & Interiors

A safe has been stolen from a barber’s and a small amount of till cash from Berry Lane Newsagents.

PC Nic Fielding said enquiries were continuing.

He said: “They’re going for money from tills, they’re obviously looking for money and (are) not always successful.”

Forrest Arms landlord Alan Odix said: “We’ve been here 10 years now and we were very upset to discover there had been a break-in.

The smashed door at Berry Antiques

"We’ve never had a break-in before.”

He said the intruder(s) got no cash, but took the till drawer.

He added local publicans had been in contact with one another at the end of last week to discuss the problem.

He said: “Local pubs all make sure their till drawers are emptied. We leave the till drawer open to show there’s nothing in it.”

Mustak Chhadat pictured by the smashed and boarded up window at his shop Berry Lane News

Ellie Halsall, owner of Berry Antiques, said the intruders had not taken any cash, adding: “It’s the damage to the door and the mess in the shop.

"I just think Longridge is getting bigger with all the new houses being built, we’ve got a police station here and it’s got to be manned (more).”

Newsagent Mustak Chhadat also called for an increased police presence in the town.

He said residents in flats above his shop called the police when they heard the break-in, but by the time the police arrived the culprit or culprits had gone. The main window of Mustak’s shop was smashed in the bid to gain entry.

The annual meeting of Longridge Town Council will be held at the Civic Hall on Wednesday (July 6).

The meeting will start at 7pm and a police representative is due to give a report on local crime and police activity.

Alan Odix, landlord of the Forrest Arms on Derby Road, Longridge

The public is welcome to attend and there is time allocated at the meeting for public comment.

The meeting will also include information for community groups about funding which could be available to support projects which will directly benefit the community.

There will be speakers from Longridge Environment Group and Longridge Community Action.