Staff terrorised by youths

STAFF at a remedial therapies parlour are living in fear after being targeted by a gang of masked youths.Carol Smith, owner of Cleopatra's, in Norwich Road, said the shop has been targeted on four separate occasions with hundreds of pounds of damage caused.

STAFF at a remedial therapies parlour are living in fear after being targeted by a gang of masked youths.

Carol Smith, owner of Cleopatra's, in Norwich Road, said the shop has been targeted on four separate occasions with hundreds of pounds of damage caused.

On several occasions the shop has had to temporarily close.

Mrs Smith said: "Over the last months we have had four incidents where a gang of youths have come into the shop.


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"They have pulled down the screen in the window and damaged the décor inside. One time one of the men stole an Egyptian head from the window and my partner caught him with it along Norwich Road.

"Because of these incidents we have had to temporarily close the shop on numerous occasions.

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"We will not tolerate this behaviour and I don't see why we should have to lose business by closing our doors."

The incidents happened on April 20, May 1, May 5 and May 7.

Mrs Smith told how each time four men turn up wearing large coats with hoods on. On May 5 the men had masked their faces with scarves.

She thinks the people change each time although their actions are very similar.

She said: "The time they masked their faces it appeared to be a group of black men. The other three times it has been a group of three white men and an Asian man.

"I don't know if they are doing it because they think it's clever or if they are trying to disrupt the business."

Last Friday staff managed to catch two men who were with the gang trying to enter the premises at 6pm. The shop was closed at the time. When they couldn't get in, the men who were wearing hoods tried to get in around the back.

Mrs Smith said: "I had a feeling they would be back again so I closed the shop. We saw them going up to the shop with their hoods up. We managed to catch them but when we spoke to them they just said they had not done anything."

Mrs Smith said the gang could not get far into the shop because there is a security gate just inside the door. Although this limits the damage they can do it is still scaring the workers.

She added: "It is scaring the girls and everyone is aware that they could come back at any minute."

Mrs Smith is willing to offer a reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the gang.

Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen men wearing hoods or with masked faces in the area around the time of the incidents.

Calls should be made to PC Richard Neasham at Ipswich Police on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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