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Staff 'rattled' after bungling burglars thwarted by vets' money safe

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Forest Lodge vets practice in Barton Court Road, Barton
Forest Lodge vets practice in Barton Court Road, Barton

THIEVES who broke into a Barton vets dumped a safe they snatched after failing to break in to it.

The intruders targeted the Forest Lodge practice in Barton Court Road overnight on Tuesday 23rd July, also taking drugs from the premises.

The safe, which contained £250 cash, was discovered intact by a member of the public a day later in nearby Mount Avenue and handed in to Hampshire Police.

“The police were quite impressed for it’s a small safe,” practice manager Debbie Nash told the A&T. “They said it looks a bit battered where [the thieves] had obviously tried to get into it.”

The safe is currently being analysed by police forensics and Debbie said staff were relieved it had been recovered.

“Mainly we’re grateful because the safe contained the takings for that day, which feature names and the first line of addresses of some of our customers,” she said.

“Our main concern was the addresses and what someone could try to do with that rather than the money or the drugs.”

Debbie explained the last member of staff left the premises at 10pm on Tuesday and the break-in was discovered the following morning. The thieves got in through a window.

“It’s rattled the nurses a bit,” she continued. “We will be reviewing our security and looking at improving that. We’re probably going to get CCTV cameras in now so we can reassure staff that they are safe to come here.”

Debbie, who has worked at the practice for the past 12 years and been manager the last two, said it was the first time in three decades the surgery had been broken into.

However, she added that other vets in Christchurch and Southampton have been targeted over the past six weeks.

“The safe certainly served its purpose so we’re very grateful to it,” she said.

Anyone with information should call police on 101, quoting the crime reference number 44190258986.

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