THE owner of a toy shop, which was broken into by a burglar who was caught after he left a trail of footprints in the snow, has decided to close the business for good.

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Alison Ilsley, who owns Osborn and William in Hadleigh, said she had taken the decision to cease trading from her High Street premises after they were broken into and vandalised three times in just seven months.

She thanked customers for their support during the past two years but said she was no longer prepared to invest the “time and money” needed to repair the damage every time an incident occurred.

Ms Ilsley, who intends to continue to run her business online and will continue with her second store in Dedham, said: “The last time we were broken into, the police did catch the offenders but only because they left footprints in the snow.

“I am of course pleased that they caught them but I don’t feel as if I have had a tremendous amount of support from the police and the attitude seems to be that this sort of thing happens in Hadleigh and you have to just deal with it.

“But having to pay out every time it happens is a smack in the mouth for a fledgling business.”

Speaking at Hadleigh Town Council meeting on Thursday, council member Jane Haylock, who also has a shop in the town, said there was concern among traders about crime on the high street. She urged police to “keep an eye on the situation”.

But PC Matt Paisley told councillors: “The toy shop is closing because of the vandalism and break-ins but we haven’t had any other reports of incidences of this nature on the High Street in recent weeks.

“However, a key priority for us in Hadleigh at the moment is the investigation of burglaries, especially dwellings but also industrial and commercial. There has been an ongoing operation that has been successful in that several burglaries have been detected.”

Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce president Roger Bannister played down the crime element but added: “Many independent traders have suffered a drastic drop in footfall since Morrisons opened and we fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that it could be a sign of things to come in Hadleigh – especially with the Tesco application on the horizon.”

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