Penwortham newsagent could close shop for good after a series of smash and grab raids

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A family-run shop in Penwortham could close down after 17 years because of thieves.

Thieves broke into Thompson's Newsagent in Manor Lane, Penwortham last night after smashing the front window with a rock.

It is the second time in three months that the family-run shop has been the target of a smash and grab raid.

Brian Thompson has been running the traditional newsagents for 17 years, but said he is considering closing the shop for good.

The 54-year-old, who is recovering from bladder cancer, said the stress and fear of further raids is damaging his health.

He said: "I'm getting to the point where I'm afraid to leave the shop at night and I'm afraid of what I'll find in the morning.

Brian Thompson and his sister Maria Taylor.

Brian Thompson and his sister Maria Taylor.

"It's too much. Every night before I go to sleep I'm worrying about my shop. I can't sleep at night. It's wearing me down.

"It's got to the point where I'm seriously thinking of closing the shop for good. I'm fighting tooth and nail to keep the shop afloat as it is, and these raids are killing me.

"Every night I'm waiting for it to happen again. The stress is making me ill. It was never like this 5, 10 or 15 years ago. Now it's becoming a normal part of doing business.

"We're only a small shop. We don't have the security and support that the bigger stores have. Luckily, I have a strong family behind me, but I don't know how long we can keep going if it happens again.

Thompson's Newsagents is known locally for its festive Christmas display.

Thompson's Newsagents is known locally for its festive Christmas display.

Around midnight on Monday November 26, three men threw a rock through his shop window and climbed through the splintered glass. Carrying a holdall, they tried to force open the cigarette cupboard but found that it was securely locked.

The thieves left empty handed, but the smashed window will cost Brian around £200 to repair.

In late August, six teenagers broke into the shop by smashing their way through the front door. The group stole a large amount of cigarettes and ransacked the shop.

Brian said: "It's the cigarettes they want. They see us as a soft target because we're a small, family run shop. But they have no idea about the effect it has on us. We're struggling to make ends meet as it is."

The shop, situated on a quiet residential street, is known locally for its Christmas window displays.

He said: "We'd just finished the Christmas display, which is always popular with the local children. It was a sad sight to see it destroyed, with broken pieces of glass everywhere.

"Now it's boarded up and doesn't look very festive at all. We're a traditional, family-run shop, we just manage to keep things ticking along. We can't afford to keep going through this."

He added: "I come to work at 4am to set up the shop, and it's unnerving to find your shop in this state, in the dark. My sister opens up for me sometimes and I'm afraid of her turning up when they're still here. It just doesn't bear thinking about."

Police have been approached for comment.