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Cash, alcohol and cigarettes stolen in raid; Thieves ransack convenience store costing boss PS10,000.

Byline: Michael Brown ? 0191 201 6342 ? m.brown@ncjmedia.co.uk

THIEVES stole thousands of pounds worth of cash, alcohol and cigarettes as they ransacked a North East convenience store.

The night-time raiders even helped themselves to lottery tickets, woolly hats and Christmas cards as they destroyed the shop, in Newcastle's South Gosforth.

But despite losing nearly PS10,000 in stock and money, store bosses fear it is the lasting damage of having to be closed over the busy new year period that could cost them more.

Manager Cyril Roy said convincing shoppers to return to Station News on Station Road would be the hardest task.

"I'd think we've lost at least PS6,000 in stock and more than PS3,000 from the till," said Cyril. "But we've also lost New Year's Eve and all our regular customers have gone elsewhere, and they'll be hard to get back."

Mr Roy discovered the theft when he went to open the mini-mart on Sunday morning.

"It was ludicrous," he said. "I was just shocked. I opened the shutter to find everything was packed into bin bags. The spirits had been cleared, along with all the cigarettes and wines and shelves of food - even the ice cream freezer had been stolen. They took all the scratch cards and we can't find out how many lottery tickets they may have printed off.

"They even took the tills and stole the Christmas and birthday cards, and woolly hats. They just destroyed the shop."

While the shop had CCTV, it seems it may have been disabled prior to the robbery which Mr Roy said coincided with the tills containing the store's monthly rent payment.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said inquiries were ongoing into the theft and appealed for anyone with information to contact officers on 101.

However, shop owner Joby George said officers may already have missed out on the chance to catch one person he believes may have been involved.

"We need to find the people involved - and it must be more than one because one person alone can't have done this," he said. "But the police should be more alert. We informed officers that we thought someone we suspected of being involved was going to run and nothing happened. Now we think he is in India. He's laughing and we've lost everything."

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TARGET Station News South Gosforth which was burgled

COUNTING THE COST Cyril Roy stares at the empty shelves at his South Gosforth store following the raid
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2013
Words:417
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