Burglars have targeted shops, pubs and cafés in Melton during a recent crimewave, prompting calls for an increased police presence in the town and more CCTV cameras in certain areas.
Two shops and a café inside the Bell Centre shopping centre – Voodoo Consoles, Time Out cafe and Savers – and three shops in the Bowley Court shopping precinct off Sherrard Street – Bliss Beauty and Tanning, SJ’s Hair World and A Reader’s Dream – were all broken into between Sunday night and Monday morning, with their front doors being smashed in.
Nothing was taken from any of them, apart from some tips money from the cafe, but other businesses in the town haven’t been so lucky after also falling victim to burglars in separate incidents.
A burglar stole hundreds of pounds from the Noel’s Arms pub in Burton Street during the early hours of Monday and during the early hours of Friday, August 26 a till containing about £80 was taken from the Gas Tap in Burton Street.
Six farmers’ market units at the Melton Cattle Market site were also broken into between August 16 and 17. It’s understood nothing was taken, with market bosses adding that more security cameras had been installed and a 24/7 security firm employed on site.
The Melton Times has also been made aware of attempted burglaries at the 54a King Street cafe and at Bliss Beauty and Tanning in Bowley Court overnight on August 28.
Ria Prior, owner of Bliss Beauty and Tanning, said: “I’m really annoyed and feel let down. Not one police officer came to see me last week when they tried to break in and now it’s all happened again.
“They went through all of my drawers trying to find money but nothing was taken. I think there should be better security here in Bowley Court. There’s no CCTV and it’s quite dark down here which leaves us vulnerable.”
Steve Cooley, joint owner of SJ’s Hair World, said: “I just want to get hold of the people who did it. They’re not going to beat me but we should have some CCTV in here.”
Paul Savva, owner of A Reader’s Dream, said: “It’s just malicious, idiotic damage. They smashed the door but I don’t think they even stepped into the shop. We do need lights and CCTV without a doubt.”
Shouler & Son, managing agents for the privately owned Bowley Court, were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Three police vehicles and a forensic investigation team were deployed to the Bell Centre after the break-ins there earlier this week.
John Webster, assistant manager at Voodoo Consoles, said: “The Bell Centre and Bowley Court are blackspots for crime. All the criminals know exactly where they need to go but we’re told we don’t need cameras.”
It’s understood forensics were called to the shop as there was blood left at the scene.
A spokesman for Central England Co-operative, which owns the Bell Centre, said: “The agents who oversee the management of the Bell Centre Shopping Centre, Andrew and Ashwell, are aware of the recent incidents and are currently investigating the matter.
“They will also be liaising with traders to discuss any concerns they may have and also to explore if there is a need for additional security measures.”
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “A 33-year-old man has been arrested in connection with seven burglaries in the Melton area and is currently on police bail pending further enquiries.
“All the incidents are being investigated by dedicated officers and they are under constant review to ascertain whether there are any patterns in offending and specific locations that are being targeted.
“Work is also being undertaken to establish if there are any potential links between the separate incidents.
“Patrols will be increased in the town centre at key risk times in light of the recent incidents and we’d like to reassure the local community that we’re taking these incidents extremely seriously.”
Anyone with information about the burglaries should call the police on 101.