Ipswich: New store allows Copdock Mill to begin trading following devastating fire

STAFF at a firm which was targeted by ram-raiding thieves are today preparing for the opening of a temporary building which will help them keep the business on track.

Mark Gladwell, who was due to retire from Copdock Country Stores just days after the fire broke out, previously branded the thieves “vindictive and evil criminals”.

Today his son, Simon Gladwell, the new managing director, said that he was delighted that they would be able to trade fully again.

“We’re very excited about the temporary store because it will finally give us the opportunity to welcome back our customers,” he said.

Thieves broke into the building in Copdock Mill, Old London Road on February 2, smashing through the side of the building with what police believe to be a Land Rover Defender.

Once inside, they tore a 185kg safe from the ground and made of with it – but not before setting light to the premises.

It took six fire crews to battle the flames that tore through the site – causing substantial damage to the entire building. The repair bill is likely to run to more than �250,000.

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On Saturday, staff will officially open the temporary store, having pulled together to ensure that they could continue trading.

Simon added: “Since the fire, we haven’t been able to trade between Monday and Friday – so the cost to the business has been very high.

“This temporary structure will allow us to get back into business after what has been eight very difficult weeks.

“Our staff and the customers have really pulled together to help get us back up and running, I think the temporary store will be great news for the farming community.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said that investigations into the raid and the ensuing arson attack are still ongoing.

This weekend’s event will see the winners of BBC2 show A Farmer’s Life For Me officially open the new store. From Saturday, trade will continue as normal.

n Are you glad to see Copdock Country Stores back up and running? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk