A SHOP owner whose premises were raided by cold-hearted thieves who stole over £1,000 worth of baby items has announced she is shutting down after ‘struggling to get back on her feet’.
Funky Baby Boutique in Cosham High Street was ambushed in February as thieves smashed up the front of the shop before stealing a whole railing of clothes.
Owner Fiona Bennett-Rice revealed she was devastated by the attack – with her losses forcing her to close the shop on July 10.
A Just Giving page was set up by loyal customers to help cover her losses. However, despite raising the £500 target, the website will not release the money and has now frozen the account – leaving the 52-year-old angry.
She said: ‘I have not been able to get back on my feet after the break-in, it shook me up and left me feeling the need to spend money on building a barracade and adding metal grids to the back of my shop door as a deterrent.
‘I was already a struggling business as the footfall has seriously diminished in the last year which had already raised alarm bells. The final nail in the coffin has come after having a nightmare trying to recover the funds from the fund me page.
‘The target was reached within two weeks and the girl that set the page up has had no joy in withdrawal of the funds. There have been numerous emails sent to the fund me people by myself, my daughter and the girl who set the page up to try and resolve the matter, but over four months on we are still no closer to making a successful withdrawal.
‘The whole thing is devastating. I don’t know why they won’t release the money – it would have made a big difference to me. If the money has been raised then it makes you wonder why they won’t release it.’
Fiona is now holding a half-price clearance sale before her business goes online – saving her £900 in monthly costs to run the shop.
She added: ‘People will lose the opportunity of finding some lovely unique shops if they don’t support independent retailers.’