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Lavender News in Chantry area of Ipswich hit by thieves for third time in four days

PUBLISHED: 13:07 22 November 2017

Hirenkumar Patel outside his shop Lavender News. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Hirenkumar Patel outside his shop Lavender News. Picture: GREGG BROWN

"We can't go on like this."

These were the desperate cries from Ipswich father Hirenkumar Patel after his newsagents was targeted by shoplifters for the third time in four days.

During the latest incident today, Mr Patel said two men entered Lavender News, in the Chantry area of the town, around 11.15am, went behind the counter and took three bottles of alcohol.

When Mr Patel verbally challenged them, one of the thieves is alleged to have threatened to smash a bottle over the shopkeeper’s head.

He added: “I said ‘don’t do it’ but they have no fear. They just come and do it.

“I challenged them and said ‘don’t do it’. He said he would smash my head with the bottle.

“The police are not taking it seriously. This has happened three times in four days.

“This is happening in the daylight, we can’t go on like this. We need assurance, security and help.

“It’s very serious.”

Mr Patel has expressed anger at the way Suffolk Constabulary has handled the case.

During the first incident on Sunday, a man stole two bottles from alcohol from the shop.

Mr Patel phoned police straight after the incident but he said he was told they were not able to visit him for up to seven days because they were too busy.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said all incidents were responded to based on the level of threat, harm and risk to the public.

Then on Monday, another three bottles of alcohol were taken from the newsagents by a man.

Officers visited Mr Patel on Tuesday to take a statement and to obtain CCTV footage – but thieves have struck again.

All three incidents have happened in broad daylight.

Suffolk Constabulary confirmed it was called to a business address in Lavender Hill to reports of an incident of shoplifting just before 11.15am today.

A spokeswoman said: “Police were on the scene within 15 minutes and inquiries are on going.”

Officers are investigating whether the three thefts are linked, the spokeswoman added.

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

Anyone with information that can help police with their investigation into these crimes should call 101.

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