SHOPKEEPER Sean Manning has told of his devastation after his fishing tackle shop was burgled and £45,000 of stock stolen.
But the lifelong angler is refusing to let the crooks win and is determined to keep his business open.
Three men wearing balaclavas smashed their way into Manning’s Fishing Tackle Shop, in London Road, Widley, and started to load up a van with valuable stock, including rods, reels, clothes and chairs.
Most of the equipment was carp-related.
But for being disturbed by some young men on the way home from a night out, much more stock may have been taken.
Mr Manning, 57, who opened the shop 10 years ago, said: ‘They disabled the cameras and basically helped themselves.
‘They knew what they were looking for. Luckily for me a couple of my customers were walking home from a night on the town and spotted what was going on and interrupted the robbers who then made a run for it.’
He added: ‘When mindless people do this, it’s devastating.
‘It makes you wonder what all the hard work is for when people can walk in and do that.
‘It’s been a hard slog and it’s taken us 10 years to get this far.
‘We are not giving up. As sickening as it is, we won’t let it beat us. Otherwise it’s giving in to them – I would like to think I’m bigger and better than them.’
Mr Manning was shocked by the efficiency of the burglary, which happened at about 1.45am on Sunday.
‘It wasn’t like what you see on television where everything is trashed,’ he said.
‘These guys were methodical, almost clinical.’
Detective Constable Pete Bambury, from Waterlooville CID, said: ‘I’m hoping someone may have seen the burglary taking place or has even been offered the items for sale.’
Call Det Con Bambury at Waterlooville CID on 101.