‘I’m losing money all the time’ – shopkeeper keeps door locked after thefts

Hirenkumar Patel at Lavender News Picture: GREGG BROWN

Hirenkumar Patel at Lavender News Picture: GREGG BROWN

An Ipswich shopkeeper who began locking his doors in response to repeated thefts has again been the target of crime.

Hirenkumar Patel went as far as writing to Home Secretary Sajid Javid about his frustrations with shoplifting at Lavender News.

Last year, he locked the door and displayed signs warning that entry to the Chantry shop may be refused for security reasons.

Mr Patel has been forced to keep the drastic policy in place during the morning, after a shoplifter walked out without paying for alcohol twice in one day.

It follows three thefts in four days last December – for which Reece Burroughs was handed a suspended prison sentence, while Richard McCleary, of Kelly Road, received 18 weeks in jail for accompanying Burroughs on the third occasion and committing five other shoplifting offences.

This Wednesday, John Ryan was ordered to repay Mr Patel for the alcohol he stole on August 3.

The 38-year-old admitted walking out without paying for four cans of beer after being refused service at 7.20am due to licensing laws. He also pleaded guilty to returning at 4.10pm to steal another two cans of beer – telling Mr Patel: “In my country, you can take without paying.”

Most Read

Ryan, of Cornflower Close, Ipswich, who denied assaulting Mr Patel on the second occasion and will face trial for the charge on December 6, was arrested after going back and knocking on the door to gain entry the next day.

He was fined £160 and ordered to pay £10.40 for the alcohol.

Mr Patel has run the shop with his wife since 2010.

In 2013, the cash register was stolen, but Mr Patel said the offender was never caught.

Calling for better protection in the future, he said: “I uphold the law but I don’t believe I’m getting the help I need.

“I’m losing money all the time. Our only option is to lock the door.

“Without a proper crime reduction policy, this will continue to happen.”

Safer neighbourhood team inspector, Kevin Horton said police understood Mr Patel’s frustration and dealt promptly with all reports of theft.

“The offender was arrested, charged and put before the courts,” he added.

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