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Traders fear another smash and grab summer nightmare

PUBLISHED: 12:15 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:09 07 September 2010

The interior of the Jessops shop

The interior of the Jessops shop

A MIDNIGHT raid by moped burglars has left traders in Hampstead fearing for another summer of woe. Thieves used hammers to smash into Jessops camera shop in Hampstead High Street, and also broke into an optometrist s shop in Haverstock Hill the same night

A MIDNIGHT raid by moped burglars has left traders in Hampstead fearing for another summer of woe.

Thieves used hammers to smash into Jessops camera shop in Hampstead High Street, and also broke into an optometrist's shop in Haverstock Hill the same night.

Police arrived at 1.30am last Tuesday and chased four men on two mopeds towards Islington. The raiders threw a number of expensive digital cameras in the road during the chase to distract the chasing police car, and escaped their pursuers.

The burglaries are a frightening reminder of similar raids last year at shops including Jigsaw, Reiss, David Clulow, Arthur Morrice and Keats Pharmacy.

Traders fear the latest raids could signal the start of a fresh campaign of smash-and-grab burglaries this summer.

Jessops store manager Mark Griffiths said: "It would have scared the living daylights out of the people upstairs. You can imagine the noise that it would make to smash your way through a plate glass window, a security shutter, a glass cabinet and then start smashing glass everywhere. You wouldn't go down there and start saying 'Excuse me what are you guys doing?'

"It looked like it'd been snowing in here. They'd just smashed into the cabinets - anything that was made of glass. The shutters were just ripped out of the way."

The raiders took cameras worth £16,000 from the shop and caused £10,000 of damage.

Linda Chung, chairwoman of the NW3Hampstead business association, said the raid emphasises the need for Hampstead police station to remain open.

"Hampstead is a prosperous area and these people are going to target shops like Jessops which have high value goods with a good resale value," she said.

Sgt Steve Pepper from Hampstead Town Safer Neighbourhood Team said: "We are aware of the situation and patrolling the area."

A police spokeswoman added: "Six suspects on three mopeds were involved in the burglaries last week. The incidents appear to be linked."

Ram raids have also been carried out in Temple Fortune. Designer shoe shop Larizia, boutique Genevieve and opticians Eyelevel have all been hit. A stolen Mitsubishi 4x4 was used to raid Larizia, which suffered £20,000 of damage.

Anyone with any information about the Hampstead burglaries should call 020-7404 1212 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555 111.


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