Hole in wall gang smash into shop

Cancer Research shop manager Jane Fletcher next to the wall thieves smashed through with sledgehammers.
Cancer Research shop manager Jane Fletcher next to the wall thieves smashed through with sledgehammers.
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Thieves used sledgehammers to smash their way through a wall to get into a designer clothes shop.

The gang escaped with a “substantial” amount of clothes after getting into Charles Stuart menswear in Market Square, Lytham.

Police believe the thieves broke into the neighbouring Cancer Research UK shop before tunnelling their way into the specialist clothing store.

They then stole jackets, shirts and knitwear.

Although nothing was taken from the charity shop, around £600 of damaged stock had to be thrown away.

Jane Fletcher, shop manager for Cancer Research UK, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I realised what had happened.

“It was horrible, they had ripped railings from the wall and smashed a huge hole through into Charles Stuart’s next door.

“It was obviously planned, they knew what they were doing.

“It is so horrible knowing criminals were on our property and it has cost us a lot, in stock, clean up and inconvenience.

“We always need new stock but now I am having to start from scratch in the run up to Christmas.”

The raid happened between 6pm on Saturday and 10am on Sunday.

Stuart Hurst, owner of Charles Stuart, which opened in Lytham in 1991, said the raid should renew calls to keep Lytham police station open.

He added: “How they can keep the station open in Blackpool and not Lytham is beyond me.

“It is obvious with recent events we need police in the area.”

The burglary comes just weeks after Michael Hyman, owner of Leonard Dews, on Clifton Street, announced he was pulling his business out of Lytham after four major robberies in just five years.

The most recent raid happened in September, when masked men threatened staff with sledgehammers before taking off with almost £1m of jewellery.

Diamond specialist Woodcock and Co on Henry Street, Lytham, was also raided by thieves who fled with thousands of pounds in jewellery in August.

Det Con Bob Higham, from Blackpool CID, said: “I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and who witnessed something to come forward and contact police.

“Lytham would have been very busy on Saturday night with Christmas parties. I would ask people if they saw anything suspicious they should call the police.”

>> Anyone with information is asked to call Blackpool police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.