Published: 00:01, 07 October 2017
An antiques dealer has spoken of his devastation after raiders broke into his shop and got away with a haul valued at around £50,000.
Richard Brunger, owner of Re Memories in Tenterden High Street, is still trying to come to terms with the burglary, which wiped out stock collected over 20 years.
The 43-year-old, who was not insured, is reeling after the raid that was discovered the following morning.
He said: “I felt sick inside when I saw what had happened. I can’t believe that someone would do this do another person.”
Thieves broke in through the back of the shop after dismantling and climbing through a 4ft high cabinet that was blocking an old entrance.
The cabinet was packed full with around 200 character jugs and, in a bizarre twist, the raiders had carefully lined them up in the alleyway behind the shop where they were found undamaged.
Shelves inside the shop had been stripped of silverware, jewellery boxes emptied and cast aside, cabinets were forced open and contents stolen, with Mr Brunger estimating the value of the stolen stock to be around £50,000.
In total around 2,000 individual items have been taken in the haul, including an antique Bernard Freres miniature carriage clock, a collection of mother of pearl silver fruit knifes, the earliest of which is from 1844, and a 1929 silver cigarette case engraved with a shipping route of SS Crynssen.
Mr Brunger, who is married to Emma, 43, and has two sons aged nine and six, said: “The burglary is devastating for us. It has a knock-on effect on our whole family and future.”
The couple, who live in Tenterden, are trying to hide their upset from the children.
Mrs Brunger said: “I told them that daddy’s shop had been burgled and some naughty people had taken his stock but they would still have a Christmas.”
The businessman said the sky-high cost of insurance and adaptations demanded, which include reinforcements to the shop, having bullet proof glass and alarms linked to the police station, meant it was too expensive for the family-owned business.
He has now tightened up security by installing new alarms and reinforcing doors. He will also have CCTV put in the premises.
Mr Brunger is determined to rebuild his collection of antiques, which sees Re Memories attract visitors from around the world.
The eclectic offering at the shop, which he describes as anything from “diamonds to doorknobs and wedding rings to Roman coins” is his pride and joy.
The antiques dealer said he intended to keep trading on Tenterden High Street.
“I think Tenterden needs independent businesses,” he said.
“There are too many empty shops and charity shops in the town. I want to put the burglary behind me, keep on serving my customers.”
Items on sale at Re Memories have a small sticker on with the letters RB and a serial number and Mr Brunger is hoping there is a chance they can be traced.
A blue wheelie bin went missing from the back of the premises after the theft, which is thought to have occurred between midnight on Monday, September 25, and 7am the next day and Mr Brunger said it is possible items could have been carried away in it.
Anyone with information is asked call police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 26-0245, or the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.