Shop owner slams contact lens thief

AN independent business owner today condemned shoplifters who stole more than £150 worth of valuable Halloween stock from his alternative clothing shop.

AN independent business owner today condemned shoplifters who stole more than £150 worth of valuable Halloween stock from his alternative clothing shop.

Ian Smith, who runs Absolution Clothing, in Upper Orwell Street, Ipswich, turned his back for a few moments as thieves swiped six pairs of custom colour contact lenses from the shelves.

Mr Smith suffers from spinal stenosis, a condition which compresses the spinal cord and nerves, and has to use crutches to get around.

The shoplifters struck as he assisted a customer on the second floor of the small shop, leaving the ground floor susceptible to opportunist crooks.


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Mr Smith said: “Someone went upstairs to look at footwear.

“Normally when I'm on my own in the shop I would stand half way between the floors but the customer had a question so I went up.

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“I heard the bell go downstairs and I came down to see that no one was in the shop. I thought it was strange but that maybe someone had accidentally wandered into the wrong building.”

After serving the customer, Mr Smith noticed the Terror Eyes contact lenses had gone.

When a visit to the shop next door turned up no clues he began to tot up the financial damage incurred by the theft - the six pairs of lenses totalling £155.88.

And Mr Smith suspects the culprits may have been no strangers to him or Absolution Clothing.

He said: “They must have been in the shop before to know where the contacts were, and if they had ever seen me in town they would know I'm always on crutches or in a wheelchair.

“We have a close-knit group of customers and run the shop with an element of trust.”

Mr Smith reported the incident to the police and has since given a list of the items taken to the organisers of alternative club nights in Ipswich. But replacing the lenses in time for Halloween has proved impossible.

He said: “We can't get them back from the supplier in time.

“It doesn't seem a lot of money but we are a small and have to be careful about what we buy in and when we buy it.

“£150 is a Christmas present for one of the children or a week's shopping.”

The theft happened between noon and 1pm on Thursday .

Police would like to hear from people who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area at the time.

You can call Suffolk police on 01473 324801 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Have you been a victim of crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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