Shopkeeper’s anger as thieves raid her business

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A BATTLE businesswoman has spoken of her heartbreak after thieves ransacked her shop, stealing cash and her young daughter’s laptop.

Cat Ridley, owner of the Lunch Bar in Old Ladies Court, received a call from the police early on Bank Holiday Monday, informing her an incident had taken place at the shop overnight.

Cat said: “I had a phone call at 8am Monday morning from the police to say there had been a smashed window, but they did not say there had been a break-in.

“I thought there had been some sort of brawl and someone had just gone into it.”

But when she arrived, Cat was met with the devastating scene.

The raiders had managed to force their way through a window made of reinforced glass and stripped the cash register of £78.

Cat said: “They made quite a bit of mess around the back of my shop.

“I was rather annoyed.”

A laptop belonging to Cat’s eight-year-old daughter, which had been sitting behind the counter, had also been taken in the raid.

The laptop, worth £450, had just spent eight weeks being repaired and Cat had forgotten to take it home.

Bizarrely, a window display of gerberas and a sugar shaker were also taken.

To add to Cat’s heartbreak, her insurance policy had been cancelled by her bank just three weeks before the incident.

As Cat only took over Lunch Bar on February 16 this year, NatWest had given her two month’s insurance for free.

Cat then gave the bank the details of her savings account, thinking the monthly direct debits could be taken from there.

Unfortunately this was not the case and Cat claims the bank cancelled the policy without informing her.

The theft happened some time between 4.30pm on Sunday and 8.40am on Monday.

A neighbour was woken by some sort of disturbance at 1.30am but did not find anything amiss after checking the scene.

On the same night, thieves broke into Battle Baptist Church (see page 3) and there was an attempted break-in to Vicarys Workshop in the High Street.

The door of the business was damaged as intruders tried, and failed, to gain access to the building.

Nothing was stolen.

Cat claims the police told her all three incidents had been carried out by the same person, but officers were unable to confirm this before the Observer went to press.

Police have carried out forensic tests at Lunch Bar.

Speaking about the thieves, Cat said: “They knew what they were doing.

“They planned this.

“It’s just not nice.

“And to do the church was disgusting.

“It really is pathetic.”

Anyone with any information about the break-in at the Lunch Bar is asked to call Sussex Police on 101, quoting serial number 0281 of May 27.