Havant Co-op targeted in digger raid reopens with new 'advanced' security measures

A SHOP owner hopes that a new top-of-the-line security system will prevent thieves from targeting his store in the future.

By David George and James Gamble
Monday, 6th January 2020, 3:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 9:21 am

The Welcome store in Snowberry Crescent, Denvilles, was hit by thieves on Tuesday, December 17, with a digger being used to carve the ATM machine out of the wall.

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Brazen thieves use a digger to carve ATM out of Havant Co-op store

Left behind was a gaping hole in the store, which thanks to hard work and community spirit, has reopened today.

The digger which was used in the ram raid Picture: Hampshire Constabulary

Now, store owner Richard Dance has installed a Vulture CCTV kit, which offers 27/7 surveillance and activates both a strobe light and smoke screen if the store is broken into.

‘It’s a tough piece of equipment,' he said.

‘The idea is that the 24/7 monitoring by SWL Security will serve as a deterrent – but if we are broken into it will call the police straight away.

‘With the smoke screen and strobe light it should prove quite alarming for thieves.’

Store owner Richard Dance. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Currently, the store does not have a new ATM machine, but Mr Dance says one will be fitted in due course.

He said: ‘The technology for securing ATM machines has come a long way since the old one was put into the wall, which will safeguard us in the future.

‘The incident has cost me around £50,000 so I wanted our security to have all the bells and whistles.’

Following the attack, tradesmen from the surrounding area joined forces to get the store back on its feet, working around the clock to get the job done.

The damaged store in December Picture: Habibur Rahman

One of those was builder Scott Gray, 41, whose wife Kathleen works at the store.

He said: ‘I drove my wife to work on the morning it happened – I saw the damage and wanted to do something to help.

‘I made a few phone calls and everyone bent over backwards to get the store up and running again.

‘A store of this size would usually be closed for months, so it’s a real community achievement to have it back open in less than three weeks.’

Scott Gray and son Harri who helped rebuild the shop with staff, Abbie Lippiatt, Richard Dance, Techa Sellick and Bet Jeffery. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mr Dance added: ‘We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Scott and other tradesmen working so hard for us.’

Neighbours have also spoken of their joy at the store’s reopening.

Maria Pegden, 64, said: ‘We’re all so pleased it’s open again, they’ve worked very hard.

‘Apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, they’ve worked from early until late every other day to get the work done.’

Pete Jackson, who lives in Snowberry Crescent, said: ‘I was expecting it to stay closed for months.

‘They had the builders in before Christmas and I think they were in between Christmas and New Year, so they got it done pretty quick.’

Elaine Bassent added: ‘They’ve done really well to get it back so quickly – we’ve missed it like hell. It was great to see all of the staff back again this morning.’