Ipswich newsagent criticises police after shoplifters target Lavender News in Chantry twice in two days

Hirenkumar Patel outside his shop Lavender News. Picture: ARCHANT

Hirenkumar Patel outside his shop Lavender News. Picture: ARCHANT

An angry Ipswich father whose newsagents was targeted by thieves twice in just two days has criticised police for their response and says he feels let down by the law.

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

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

A male shoplifter stole two bottles of booze equating to £42 from Lavender News in the Chantry area of the town at around 7.45am on Sunday after boss Hirenkumar Patel told him he could not sell him alcohol until 10am due to licensing laws.

Mr Patel said he phoned police straight away, but he was told they were too busy and would not be able to visit him for up to seven days.

After being approached by the Ipswich Star today, Suffolk Constabulary contacted Mr Patel to say the crime had been logged and he was asked to send police a still image of the CCTV via email.

However, this afternoon at around 1.45pm the newsagents, in Lavender Hill, was stung for the second time, with a man taking three bottles of alcohol totalling £60.

On this occasion, police did attend but Mr Patel said it was too little too late.

“They are too busy to give us assistance,” he added.

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“We are unsafe in our own premises and the police aren’t protecting us.”

Mr Patel said public confidence in the police was “very, very low” in the Chantry area of Ipswich.

He said: “Crime is happening in the daylight, it used to happen at night-time.

“If the police can’t protect us from things like this, how can they protect us from cyber-crime or terrorism?

“The police should be there when they are needed.

“I spoke to 40 to 50 customers and everyone says the same thing, confidence in the police is very, very low.

“It may be because of cuts but the victim is suffering because of the politicians and the police. They need to sort out that mess.”

Mr Patel, who has two young children, has run Lavender News with his wife since 2010.

The shop was targeted in 2012 when the cash register was stolen, but Mr Patel said the offender was never caught.

A police spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Constabulary responds to all incidents based on the level of threat, harm and risk to the public. If a crime is in progress, our officers will do all they can to get there in time.

“We were called after the suspect had left the premises in Lavender Hill and, due to demand yesterday, officers were unable to attend. Whilst we understand that this is frustrating to the business owner, we do need to focus putting resources where they are immediately needed.

“We take reports of shoplifting seriously and are working with the business owner to identify the suspect, as well as offering crime prevention advice to safeguard his business.”

Anyone with information that can help with the investigation into these crimes should call police 101 quoting reference 74562/17.