THE manager of Crow Farm Shop in Ringwood hit out at thieves who smashed their way in and stole a safe as it keeps up with customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alerted by police around 4am today (Thursday), Alex Hood rushed to the community produce store in Crow Lane to find its patio doors had been broken to gain entry. The CCTV system had also been disabled.
Apart from the safe, which contained an undisclosed amount of cash, nothing else was reported to have been taken from the premises.
The store was open for business that morning and, speaking to the A&T, Mr Hood said staff were working “flat out” as customers were queuing out of the entrance.
He attributed the rush to supermarket shelves rapidly emptying amid panic-buying sparked by the worsening Covid-19 crisis.
“We’re doing our best to make sure everybody is getting what they need, and this minority are trying to stop us doing what we’re doing which is trying to keep the people of Ringwood fed,” Mr Hood said.
Several people took to a local Facebook page to vent their anger at the theft, disgusted that it came at a time when there is even more dependence on such businesses.
One person posted: “I would implore anybody who knows who was involved with the break-in at Crow Farm Shop to inform the police immediately.
“Times are going to be hard enough as it is without these despicable acts. Just remember the criminals are taking the food from your mouths. Please support the Crow Farm Shop.”
Another said: “OMG seriously! What’s the matter with some people?
“The whole community are working to support each other and then these idiots act like this!”
Another premises, Aivly Country Store, was also broken into on the same site during that night. Gates were forced and the front door was damaged to gain entry to the shop in what was believed to have been an attempt to steal a safe, but nothing was taken.
Police investigating the raids are urging people to come forward if they witnessed any suspicious activity around the time they took place.
Anyone with information should contact Hampshire officers on 101, quoting crime reference number 44200102796, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.