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Wisbech shopkeeper fuming after break-in at premises in broad daylight




A Fenland shopkeeper has blasted residents after his shop was broken into in broad daylight in front of passers-by.

Nathaniel Woodward, who owns Woodward's Confection, in Union Street, just off Wisbech Market Place, has been left counting the cost following last Friday's (21) incident, but said the loss of petty cash and other items did not anger him as much as believing people saw what was happening and did nothing.

Mr Woodward, who also owns another sweet shop in Long Sutton with his wife Leah, also blasted the police and CCTV surveillance claiming a riot van drove across the Market Place while a handful of yobbos were busy kicking his shop door in.

Nathaniel and Leah Woodward have been devasted by a burglary at their Wisbech sweet shop. (47579146)
Nathaniel and Leah Woodward have been devasted by a burglary at their Wisbech sweet shop. (47579146)

He said: "They are on my own CCTV hanging around outside the shop and then spending nearly an hour kicking and bashing the door before finally getting in.

"This happened at around 7.30pm and went on until almost 8.30pm - so in broad daylight. There are people clearly milling about on the Market Place, you can see a cleaner in a nearby premises watching what is happening, but no one thought to call the police.

"Instead the break-in was discovered when a staff member returned to the shop at around 10.30pm to pick up a mobile phone they'd forgotten.

Shop owner Nathaniel Woodward says members of the public were in the vicinity when yobbos kicked the door to his premises in. (47664828)
Shop owner Nathaniel Woodward says members of the public were in the vicinity when yobbos kicked the door to his premises in. (47664828)

"I have done lots of things for the community since opening the shop, I have sponsored football teams, donated prizes, I even put on a Santa's grotto at Christmas for the children, and how does the people of Wisbech repay me - by standing by and doing nothing while my shop is broken into.

"There is council-run CCTV cameras on the Market Place that are supposed to be monitored 24/7, but no one spotted these scumbags kicking at my door for a whole hour. I can see from my own CCTV a police riot van driving past QD while this is all going on, and they do nothing.

"It has cost me over £1,000 to repair the door and I had to remain closed on Saturday. Times have been tough enough for shops and businesses during the pandemic, without this sort of thing happening.

Shop owner Nathaniel Woodward says members of the public were in the vicinity when yobbos kicked the door to his premises in. (47664848)
Shop owner Nathaniel Woodward says members of the public were in the vicinity when yobbos kicked the door to his premises in. (47664848)

"The people responsible look as if they are aged from around 13 or 14 to early 20s, so I wonder if their parents know or care what they were up to."

A spokesperson for Fenland District Council, which is responsible for the CCTV cameras in Wisbech town centre said: "The CCTV camera which spans Wisbech Market Place was in operation during the incident and the operator was patrolling the area’s cameras, but unfortunately the burglary wasn’t detected as the door of the premises is obscured from the camera’s view.

"The camera was able to capture movement from members of the public in the vicinity at around 7.30pm that evening but that is not unusual as public places can still be busy at that time of day.

"Fortunately, the premises own cameras were able to catch the offenders, and we will be assisting police with the offenders’ movements in the local area beforehand. It is often the case that if a camera does not pick up an incident directly, it can provide corroborating evidence in conjunction with other cameras and add value and chance of catching the culprits, which we hope will be the case this time.

Shop owner Nathaniel Woodward says members of the public were in the vicinity when yobbos kicked the door to his premises in. (47664840)
Shop owner Nathaniel Woodward says members of the public were in the vicinity when yobbos kicked the door to his premises in. (47664840)

“We currently have 75 cameras being monitored across Fenland, supporting the detection and reduction of crime and disorder, as well as reducing the fear of crime in those areas. In the 12 months from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, we conducted 6,087 pro-active camera patrols and a total of 1,077 incidents were detected by our CCTV cameras across the district, and through working alongside our policing partners were able to lead to 86 arrests being made for offences including criminal damage, drugs, theft and violent crime.”

While a spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said it was "incredibly difficult2 to work out is any police vehicles drove past at the time of the break-in.

And added: "We were called at 10.35pm on May 21 with reports of a burglary at a shop on Union Street, Wisbech. Officers attended and searched the area, but the offender/s had left the scene.

"An investigation has been launched and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact police via their web chat service https://bit.ly/3vsiYDw or online forms at www.cambs.police.uk/report quoting crime reference 35/31301/21.

"Anyone without internet access should call 101. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”



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