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Ipswich Lavender News owner asks customers to knock before he lets them in after spate of thefts

Hirenkumar Patel outside his shop Lavender News. Picture: ARCHANT

Hirenkumar Patel outside his shop Lavender News. Picture: ARCHANT

An Ipswich shopkeeper left angry and upset at shoplifters targeting the newsagents he owns is taking a stand and asking customers to knock before he lets them in.

Hirenkumar Patel had alcohol stolen from his shop. Picture: ARCHANT Hirenkumar Patel had alcohol stolen from his shop. Picture: ARCHANT

Father-of-two Hirenkumar Patel, who owns Lavender News in Chantry, said he feels police are still not listening to his concerns after the shop was targeted three times in four days.

Richard McCleary, 29 and of Kelly Road in Ipswich admitted shoplifting from Mr Patel’s premises in court on Thursday and was given a prison sentence for this and thefts from other stores.

But a second suspect is still being looked for, and Mr Patel has now put up three signs in response to the recent thefts.

“I have to keep my family and property safe,” he said.

“This is wanton behaviour that is not acceptable. I am very upset and feel exasperated. “I’ve got CCTV inside and out so it’s not like I haven’t tried to be secure.

“The shop was robbed three times and someone responsible is still out there.

“I am so frustrated because I was on the phone on 101 for 20 minutes and I just feel like police aren’t listening.

“I know one of them has been caught but I’ve had my door locked for weeks now because I am frightened me and my family will be targeted.”

One of the three signs says the shop is private property, while another tells customers entry to the newsagents may be rejected for security reasons.

“The last one notifies them that they may have to knock to be served.

Mr Patel said they have been put up to deter thieves and provide some protection after the three incidents, which happened last month.

“The police need to give us the confidence that I am safe my family is safe and the community is safe but they are not doing that.

“One of the police officers told me he is not a magician but I feel it is a serious crime and issue I want investigated.”

Suffolk police said chiefs contacted Mr Patel on Sunday to update him on developments.

A spokesman added: “We do understand his frustrations with regard to the thefts at his shop.

“We have offered Mr Patel crime prevention advice and have also provided the opportunity for him to speak to our ‘design out’ crime officers about actions he can take to help protect his premises.”

Anyone with information about the thefts, which happened during the day on November 19, 20 and 22, should call police on 101.

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