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Window smashed and goods stolen from Mobile Cottage in Ashford high street for second time in months

A business owner says he has no choice but to spend thousands on security after his shop was broken into for the second time in a matter of months.

More than £1,000 of vapes were reported stolen from Mobile Cottage in Middle Row in Ashford after the glass was smashed in an alleged raid on Tuesday evening.

Glass was scattered on the floor outside Mobile Cottage following the raid
Glass was scattered on the floor outside Mobile Cottage following the raid

Owner Muhammad Javed Afzal was at home when he saw on KentOnline that his shop had been targeted again.

“A few weeks ago the same thing happened and we spent £2,000 replacing the window and now it has happened again,” he explained.

“We have lost stock and we will have to replace the glass again.

“I saw on the news that the window got broken.

“They took disposable vapes and last time they took £1,000 of stuff, this time it will be more than that because they took the whole shelf.

Muhammad Javed Afzal, owner of Mobile Cottage in Ashford
Muhammad Javed Afzal, owner of Mobile Cottage in Ashford

“We are discussing with the landlord whether to put shutters outside, it will cost a lot of money, but the business can't afford for this to keep happening.

“We put in really strong glass after last time, it was supposed to be unbreakable so we don't know how they did it.

“The frustration and stress it has caused is impacting all staff in the shop.

“I think crime is getting worse because a window at Boots was smashed before too.”

The previous incident happened on September 18, when the shop was damaged and vaping equipment stolen between 6am and 8.50am.

An 18-year-old man was arrested in relation to the incident and released on bail while inquiries continue.

The shop has now been boarded up
The shop has now been boarded up

In April, the entrance to Boots was taped off and boarded up by police after a break-in.

A door to the shop had been damaged and fragrances were reported stolen from inside.

Despite the recent damage, Mobile Cottage, which specialises in repairs for mobiles, tablets and laptops, is open as usual.

Police were called at about 7.15pm on Tuesday following reports of the break-in and a teenager has since been charged.

Following inquiries by officers at the scene, two people were later arrested in connection with the incident.

Officers have now charged Callum Gasper-Phelan, who is accused of two counts of theft.

The 18-year-old, of Scholars Way, Ashford, was due to appear before Folkestone Magistrates' Court today.

A 13-year-old boy arrested in connection with the incident has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Photos taken at the time show the pavement outside the shop covered in glass and debris and packaging lying in the street.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information is urged to call police on 01843 222289, quoting reference 46/202571/23. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or complete their online form.

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