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Manager of Chatteris shop hit by ram raiders describes 'terrifying' incident



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A Chatteris convenience store manager has described the terrifying moment she realised ram raiders were hitting her shop.

The manager, who does not want to be named, lives above the Nisa store in Park Street, and was watching television with her partner, while her young son was asleep in bed, when the attack happened last night (Thursday).

She said: "We were watching tele and all of a sudden there was this loud bang. At first I thought there had been an accident outside but when we looked out of the window we could see a truck being driven into the shop downstairs.

Ian Benney owns the shop and was on site to help with the clear up. (54143557)
Ian Benney owns the shop and was on site to help with the clear up. (54143557)

"They drove it backwards and forwards about five times before going into the shop and taking the cash machine.

"It all happened so fast - about four minutes that's all it took."

The manager, who called police while the incident was ongoing, said the ram raiders saw them at the window and had pointed fingers like a gun at her partner.

She said: "That's when we just stepped back from the window. There was nothing we could do. The people in the kebab shop next door, which was still open came out, but they were warned it was none of their business and were told to go back inside by the men who all had sticks, hich they did and locked all the doors.

The scene after the ram riad with the abandoned Isuzu Trooper used to smash in the shop frontage. (54143563)
The scene after the ram riad with the abandoned Isuzu Trooper used to smash in the shop frontage. (54143563)

"It was terrifying, I have been the manager for just over a year and a half and I never expected anything like this to happen."

She called the property's owner, local Councillor Ian Benney to tell him what was happening.

He said: "When I got the phone call it was 10.50pm and I was just getting ready for bed. I could tell straight away something serious had happened by the sound of her voice.

"As soon as she told me what was happening I went straight to the shop. I only live five minutes away but they had gone by the time I got there.

Staff clear rubble from the damaged shop front. (54143542)
Staff clear rubble from the damaged shop front. (54143542)

"They have caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to the shop front. Luckily the building is still structurally safe. I had the people from Morton and Hall in March come out and have a look at it. I called them late late last night and they were here first thing in the morning - I really appreciate their help."

He also thanked police for the fast response and for standing guard over the shop overnight.

Ian who was on hand to help the shop's tenant, Delmid Khangea, whose family have run the shop since Ian retired five years ago, with the clearing up operation this afternoon (Friday).

He said the premises were insured and is now waiting for the loss adjuster to come out.

Ram raiders struck at a store in Chatteris on Thursday night. Facebook/IB (54130738)
Ram raiders struck at a store in Chatteris on Thursday night. Facebook/IB (54130738)

He said: "The sad thing is they have caused much more damage, and forced the shop to close while it is repaired, than there was money in the cash machine."

Ian said the gang of at least four men were all wearing balaclavas and had come in three different vehicles, an Audi and a van as well as the Isuzu used to break in and was left abandoned.

Delmid said he has been overwhelmed by the support from the community.

Staff clear rubble from the damaged shop front. (54143542)
Staff clear rubble from the damaged shop front. (54143542)

He explained his family had taken over the business after relocating from London.

He said: "We wanted somewhere quieter, and we liked it here. We moved to get away from London and to feel safer, and then this has happened."

Delmid added: "I have lost a little bit of my heart because of this. I feel sorry for my customers who will be inconvenienced by what has happened."

Ram raiders struck at a store in Chatteris on Thursday night. Facebook/IB (54130735)
Ram raiders struck at a store in Chatteris on Thursday night. Facebook/IB (54130735)

Ian concluded: "Thankfully no-one was hurt, that's what really matters. The damage, the cash machine, that is only money, and is not really important when it comes to people being safe and unharmed - that is all that matters to me."

The security shutters were cut in half during the raid. (54143554)
The security shutters were cut in half during the raid. (54143554)

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police, who have linked it to a similar incident yesterday morning in Milton Road, Cambridge, said: We were called at 10.48pm last night (6 January) to reports of a break in at Nisa in Chatteris. On attendance the suspects had left the scene and an investigation has begun. If anyone has any information they should contact us via web-chat or on 101 quoting incident 485 of 6 January."

A trailer load of debris is all that remains of the nIsa store shop front. (54143548)
A trailer load of debris is all that remains of the nIsa store shop front. (54143548)
The cash machine was in this alcove inside the store. (54143551)
The cash machine was in this alcove inside the store. (54143551)


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