THE manager of a New Milton pharmacy has revealed her frustration after raiders targeted the store three times in 10 days, stealing perfume and drugs.
On all three occasions a glass side door was smashed to gain entry to Lloyds Pharmacy in Station Road, impacting trade for some time afterwards while staff awaiting police forensic examinations and a clear-up.
However, a Hampshire police spokesperson said the incidents were not being linked.
The branch manager, who declined to be identified, told the A&T she lost a whole day of trade last Thursday following the latest break-in, which took place in the early hours that day.
Alerted by the alarm around 2.15am, she had rushed to the store to find the damaged door, with footprints leading inside. A perfume cabinet had been smashed and £400-£500 of items taken from within.
“We were closed all day on Thursday, so this has had a massive impact on the business,” the manager said.
“We reopened on Friday afternoon after we had blocked off all the affected areas so no one could get hurt as there was broken glass all over the place. We have a back entrance, so we were going to and fro from that.
“On Saturday we still had most of the shop blocked off. The broken glass has now been cleared up, so from Thursday morning to Monday morning it has affected trade.”
The disruption was partly due to delays in police sending out a forensics team, which eventually arrived on Saturday morning.
Staff had only just picked up the pieces after the previous break-in, which took place shortly before midnight on Friday 11th October.
A perfume cabinet had also been damaged then, with about the same amount stolen from within. Police enquiries saw the arrests of a 38-year-old man from Pennington and a 45-year-old Hordle man on suspicion of burglary. They were later released but remain under investigation.
The first raid took place between 11.45pm and midnight on the night of Monday 7th October when medication was stolen.
In the wake of these break-ins the store’s security is being strengthened, with steel shutters being installed.
The incidents have taken their toll on the branch manager and her four staff members, although she stressed they had all been supporting each other.
“It has been very difficult, and it has a big effect on everybody,” she continued.
“We won’t ever be at the point where we let people get away with it, but it is getting very tiring and I just wish these people would leave us alone, quite frankly.”
Local shoppers have shown their support for the store, with one taking to social media to express their gratitude for the staff’s dedication to their customers following the latest raid.
The post on a local Facebook page on Saturday said: “A big thank you Lloyds chemist, Station Road.
“They have been broken into three times in a very short time. They opened up to let folks pick up their prescriptions.
“They were still working within the shop with glass behind boxes for people’s safety.”
Those with information should contact Hampshire police on 101, quoting crime reference number 44190371481 for the latest incident or 44190359122 for the first incident, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.