The owner of one of three Haverhill town centre businesses burgled over successive weekends believes the town’s police are too stretched to properly maintain law and order.
Carole Tolliday’s business, Serenity Foot Care in Queens Square, was burgled sometime between her locking up at 4pm on Saturday, September 9, and 8.45am on Monday morning, when she arrived with her daughter Paige Burgess to open up again.
The back door was forced open to gain entry and every room searched, with many items taken, including a small amount of cash, a charity collection box, medical equipment, tools belonging to a decorator friend who had left them there, a radio and even the coffee and biscuits.
The chiropodists was the third town centre business to be raided by burglars in the space of nine or ten days, following break-ins at an accountants and a clothing shop.
Police have since arrested and released on bail someone in connection with the Serenity burglary.
However, Carole said her experiences of witnessing drug dealers operating on Queen Street and in the alleyway leading to Lower Downs Slade car park, and the subsequent difficulties in getting to report those and the availability of officers have left her frustrated.
The town’s police station was closed to the public almost 18 months ago, although there is an intercom on the wall next to the entrance.
Carole, who believes drug addiction is the underlying issue behind the recent burglaries, said: “I feel really sorry for the police because there is just not enough of them.
“The fact is you just get fed up trying to say things because there’s not enough of them.
“If you go to the police station you have to pick the phone up and can’t just walk in any more.
“They give you the 101 number and there’s no pint because you are on there forever on hold. If they give you the 101 number it’s really hard but then again they are having a high number of calls and a lot of people are having to wait a long time and they give up.”
On one occasion, said Carole, a man she knows walked past a woman sitting on the bench near the Queen’s Street to Lower Downs Slade alleyway and was asked by her; “Do you know when the lady who does the (drugs) deals comes along. They said she comes along every hour.
“They do the deals up there in the alleyway. I’ve seen them.
“How do you maintain law and order when there’s hardly any of you. Your resources are stretched to the limit.
“It’s not that they are bad police officers, there’s just not enough of them.”
A police spokeswoman confirmed that Jacobs Allen accountants in the High Street, on the corner of Quakers Lane, was also broken into between 5pm on Thursday, August 31 and 9.30pm on Sunday, September 3.
Entry was forced via a window and items stolen included a laptop, a quantity of cash and stationery.
Women’s clothing boutique Diva, in Empire Yard, off High Street, was broken into between 5pm on Friday, September 8 and 8.40am the next day.
Suspect/s forced entry via the front of the property by breaking the door panel and items stolen included needles used for body piercing.
A police spokeswoman confirmed they are investigating possible links between the three crimes.
Suffolk Constabulary Inspector for Haverhill and Sudbury, Danny Cooper, said: “Tackling the supply of drugs in our town, and throughout the county, remains a priority for Suffolk Police.
“We will continue to work with our partners to reduce the risks and anti-social behaviour inherent with drug activity, such as burglary and theft, and address problem areas with the appropriate balance of support, intervention and enforcement.
“Our work encompasses intelligence-led enforcement through regular warrants, and the targeting of those suspected of involvement in supplying drugs, as well as providing treatment to protect and support some of the most vulnerable in society.
“We will always look to take action against those who are involved in the supply chain and seek the continued support of members of the public to help identify who they are, where they are operating from and ultimately bring them to justice.”
•A man in his 50s from Haverhill was arrested on Monday, September 11 in connection with the Serenity Footcare burglary and taken to Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
He has now been released under investigation pending further enquiries.