Shop owner ‘worried’ after Hornchurch supermarket vandalised twice during coronavirus crisis
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 April 2020
Police are investigating after a Hornchurch supermarket was vandalised twice in a fortnight during the coronavirus outbreak.
International Supermarket, in High Street, had to shut for a day following the most recent incident, shortly after midnight on Saturday, April 11.
The first instance was at 4am on Monday, March 30.
Shop owner Mehmet Oztas said he has seen CCTV footage of both incidents and said a man takes out a hammer and breaks the shop’s front window each time.
In the March incident, a man was wearing a mask and steals cigarettes.
Mehmet revealed that the man in the second incident was not wearing a mask.
The shop said £10,000 worth of damage has been done and that police were contacted on both occasions.
Mehmet, who has owned the shop for five years, said: “I am worried about this happening again.”
This is not the first time the shop has been the subject of trouble.
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In May 2019, Mehmet said a group of people attempted to steal items and, after he “kicked them out” of the shop, one returned and hit him from behind, breaking his arm.
He was forced to miss six weeks of work due to his injuries.
Mehmet revealed the shop has been busy since the outbreak of coronavirus, with government restrictions leading to the closure of non-essential shops.
“We always try to do as much as we can because we are a food business,” Mehmet said.
“Normally we work with 14 to 15 people but now we are down to four or five.”
On the March 30 incident, a Met Police spokeswoman said: “At approximately 4.01am, police were on general patrol when they came across broken windows and an alarm siren at a business premises in High Street, Hornchurch.
“Officers attended the premises and the building was secured.
“The owners were contacted and it was established that entry had been forced into the shop and a large quantity of cigarettes was found to have been taken.
“There have been no arrests.”
The spokeswoman confirmed that the Met are also investigating the incident at the shop on April 11.
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