A model shop is stepping up security after items worth hundreds of pounds were stolen to order in the third burglary attack on the business in just two months.
Burglars broke into Hunstanton Models in the town’s High Street in the early hours of New Year’s Day and took items the shop owner had specifically discussed with a ‘customer’ only a few days earlier.
It comes after two failed burglary attempts at the shop, which only moved to its new premises in High Street at the end of October.
Owner Anthony Gooch, who suffered a heart attack the day after the break-in, said: “The scroats who did this knew exactly what they wanted. I had welcomed them into my shop only a few days earlier and discussed two of the items with them. They seemed pleasant customers and that’s what is so galling about it. If that wasn’t the burglar then it was someone working for them.”
The items stolen in the raid were a Bachmann Highlander digital control model train set and a 1:50-scale Corgi model DYCE truck, along with 30 mini quadcopters.
“The train set and Corgi model were very much stolen to order, and the quadcopters were just the icing on the cake,” said Mr Gooch, who estimated the total loss to his business, including stock and damages, to be around £1,500.
Mr Gooch, who owns the model and hobby shop with wife Stella, was alerted to the break-in by a passing dog walker at about 8.30am.
The culprits had gained entry by smashing a brick through the front shop window.
The couple were unable to open the shop as planned, and spent New Year’s Day cleaning up all the glass and damage.
Around 24 hours later Mr Gooch suffered a heart attack and was taken to hospital. He has since undergone a coronary stent procedure at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
He said: “There were underlying health issues and it may be just coincidental, but dealing with everything we had to deal with on New Year’s morning would clearly put a strain on yourself.
“I’m back on the mend now though and I’m not going to let this hold us back.”
Mr Gooch is now implementing new security measures at the shop to combat the risk of further break-ins, but is keeping the details under wraps so as not to alert any would-be burglars to his plans.
He added: “We would have opened on New Year’s Day if it had not of been for the burglary as there were a lot of people in town. We can only apologise to those who wanted to come into the shop and couldn’t.
“We’ve got lots of exciting things to look forward to this year though, with lots of new products and the continuation of the shop refurbishment.
“We just want to rise above it and let our customers know we are here.”
Police have launched an investigation into the incident and are appealing to the public for information.
Officers would like to hear from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area in the early hours of New Year’s Day, between 1.15am and 8.15am, or who may have been offered any of the items for sale.
Anyone with information should contact PC Glen Barnes at Hunstanton police station on 101.