Retailer Zak Mwanje, owner of Z’s Local in Leeds, lost up to £800 in alcohol sales and suffered thousands of pounds in damages following a shop burglary two weeks ago.

Mwanje said the incident took place during the early hours of the morning. “The break-in happened at 4am, and the police arrived an hour later,” he said. 

“Earlier on that night, the same pair had broken into another store and stolen all their cigarettes.

“They couldn’t get access to ours because they are behind a screen, so they took all the spirits instead, which are just as expensive.”

“The thieves broke all our shutters to get in,” Mwanje added. “We have been recommended by
one company to get a new one, costing us £3,000. We just don’t have the money right now.”

Due to CCTV, the police were able to catch the criminals. “They were well known to the police, but unfortunately they were not locked up before,” said Mwanje. “I’m hoping they will be this time around.”

Since the break-in, the store has remained open. “We have got a lot of stock that would go out of date if we shut,” added Mwanje. 

“We also have a lot of staff who rely on the income they get, which is obviously dependent on the sales we make.”

In a bid to prevent any more incidents, Mwanje said he is planning to install an alarm system that is linked to floodlights, as well as invest in a louder alarm. 

“These preventative methods have to be paid for from my own pocket,” he said. “I have just tried to go to my bank to see if we can get a loan and they said no. It’s just a loss we have to bear.”

Speaking about crime in Yorkshire, district president Jay Banning, said the police are not doing enough.

“It is ridiculous enough the police have said the crime has to cost more than £200 for them to come out,” he said. 

“A crime is a crime, it’s not right to put a value on it.”

Banning said despite ongoing requests to police commissioners to attend meetings with retailers and the public, he has seen no action be taken. 

“These meetings just don’t seem to be happening, which is really disappointing,” he said. 

“They should acknowledge the importance of these meetings themselves. Businesses are becoming more scared and soon there will be no convenience stores left.”

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