‘I’m heartbroken...I’ve put my soul into this business’

Tony Cox has been forced to retire from his job at One Stop Model Centre after it was raided twice in a few weeks. Pictured behind the counter of the shop in The Sanderson Centre, Gosport.   Picture: Allan Hutchings (113580-180)
Tony Cox has been forced to retire from his job at One Stop Model Centre after it was raided twice in a few weeks. Pictured behind the counter of the shop in The Sanderson Centre, Gosport. Picture: Allan Hutchings (113580-180)

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THE heartbroken owner of a Gosport shop has shut his business down after burglars took thousands of pounds worth of cash and stock in two separate raids.

Tony Cox, owner of One Stop Model Centre, closed the store for good yesterday.

He had run the business from a shop in Stoke Road, Gosport for nine years before moving to the Sanderson Centre, Lees Lane, Gosport, in March.

On Sunday, model boats, cars and helicopters worth £1,000 were stolen along with cash from the till.

It comes after £350 in takings and model kits worth £7,000 were taken in a similar raid on September 25.

On both occasions thieves used a crowbar to break into the business centre and to get into the model shop inside.

Mr Cox fitted a security lock after the first raid, but thieves ripped it off the second time.

Mr Cox, who ran the shop with business partner Steven Gong, said: ‘We’ve had to close down because of what’s happened.

‘We simply can’t afford to replace the losses. £8,000 is a lot of money. I’m heartbroken. I’ve put my heart and soul into this business.

‘I don’t understand how anyone could do something like this. I’m going to retire and build models from home.

‘The business centre is meant to be a secure site. I don’t see how someone could have got away with it.’

The centre, which is home to more than 90 businesses, has a perimeter fence and is covered by 24-hour CCTV surveillance.

But officials have admitted cameras did not cover where the two incidents happened on the three-and-a-half-acre site.

Site maintenance manager Ian Steel said: ‘We don’t have any footage because our cameras don’t cover that area.

‘Police have told us they believe the suspects climbed over the fencing to gain access.

‘We have now purchased seven new cameras and they will definitely cover that part of the premises.

Neil Millar, a spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary, said: ‘We’re conducting an investigation.

‘We believe both incidents happened between 8.30pm and 12.45am.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Gosport police station on 101.