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Splash and grab raid

PUBLISHED: 13:24 06 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

SOARING temperatures left traders in a Suffolk village hot under the collar after thieves dived into a showroom and made off with three junior swimming pools.

SOARING temperatures left traders in a Suffolk village hot under the collar after thieves dived into a showroom and made off with three junior swimming pools.

The raid on Cascade Pools East Anglia Ltd in Capel St Mary comes in the wake of a string of similar crimes, including theft and vandalism, affecting stores in the village close to the A12 and has incited calls for an increased police presence in the area.

A spokesman for the store, which rents land belonging to next door Bypass Nurseries said:.

"We are very concerned. The police force is sadly underfunded we believe we are being sacrificed for the town centre where there are numerous public disorder offences," he said.

"In the 80s two police men patrolled the area in a car now any response has to come from Hadleigh, Stowmarket or Ipswich and that's emergency cover only.

"We used to have a resident police man in East Bergholt, Stratford, Brantham, Copdock, Capel and Wherstead. They lived in the village with the community and could keep an eye on what was going on.

"Now all the police houses have been sold and there are no police officers that actually live in the village where they work."

Thieves cut through a chain link perimeter fence and smashed a glass panel door to gain entry to the store room and office. They cut a telephone cable, believing it to be a burglar alarm, and threw it into a show pool outside along with glass from the door.

Three above ground Splasher Pools kits worth £399 each were stolen. The 3ft deep by 12ft round Young Swimmer Atlantic Swimming Pools were packed in boxes complete with pump and filter systems.

Brian Bennett site manger at Evergreen conservatory showrooms next door to Cascade Pools added his voice to the calls for increased police presence.

The store has suffered incidents of vandalism in the past where conservatories and sheds have been broken into and Mr Bennett has found evidence of drug use in the summer houses.

"I've requested that the police make a detour past these shops on their way to Capel Police station but I've had no response," he said.

"We used to leave the summer houses unlocked about three or four years ago and kids could use them for shelter but regrettably I have to make them secure now. People started misusing them, it's a shame, they (staff at Cascade Pools) would leave the pools open to and everyone could use them but people started throwing pots full of earth in there and it all had to stop.

"I've had a fairly peaceful 18 months because that generation of kids have grown up but I'm waiting for the next generation to grow up before it starts again."

Further along the road Foodstop Express has also had it's share of trouble.

"We did have a lot of problems," said area manager Janette Sugda (crt). "We have been much quieter but I think it's because we have had someone living upstairs. It was not very nice coming in every day and knowing what you were going to find."

Two suspicious men were spotted at Cascade Pools prior to the theft of the pools, which occurred sometime between the night of August 1 and 7.30am on Thursday.

One is described as a stocky white male, approximately 5ft 6ins tall and 45-years-old, with dark hair, a London accent and was quietly spoken.

The other was also a white male, approximately 19-25-years-old with a pale complexion and blond wavy hair. Both men were wearing casual clothing and were asking questions about the pools.

Anyone with information should contact Pc Simon Burman at Capel St Mary police station on 383115.

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