Published: 13:02, 21 October 2019
| Updated: 13:03, 21 October 2019
Fresh pleas have been made to Kent's police and crime commissioner after 'hooded' burglars targeted a town's Spar.
The culprits broke down the doors to the Market Street store in Sandwich in the early hours of Sunday but made off with nothing.
It's thought to be the first time in decades that the shop has fallen victim to such crime but one resident has warned that without action, 'low level crime will become more frequent and dangerous'.
According to assistant manager Becky Elliott who attended the store at 4am, those responsible were wearing hoods.
She said: "We have CCTV and they had hoods on. There were clearly after cash.
"We have a Post Office in store but they took nothing.
"I've been here 21 years and I can't remember the last break in we had."
The shop would usually open at 8am but remained closed until lunchtime.
Damage caused to the glass doors meant the store has since been unable to be secured.
Staff have adopted a temporary 24-hour rota to ensure it is manned until the doors are replaced today.
Resident Sally Hayter, who has continued to campaign for a more effective police presence in Sandwich, said: "This is a typical example of what is going on in Sandwich and what Kent PCC Matthew Scott says is low grade.
"I would like to acknowledge that if the authorities do not deal with what they deem low level crime, over time, low level will become more frequent and more dangerous."
Labour councillor David Wood agrees. He said: "This is evidence that policing in Sandwich has to be a local priority.
"Matthew Scott must come to Sandwich and explain precisely how additional police resources recently pledged to Dover District will benefit and reassure the residents of our town."
Mr Scott responded this morning.
He said: "Local, effective, visible policing is an issue I care deeply about and crime is important no matter where it takes place.
"I am aware of the concerns expressed by the residents of Sandwich. This is why I visited the area in July of this year to meet with them and listen to their concerns first hand.
"As I explained when I met them burglary is a very serious crime, which residents consistently tell me rates among their top concerns.
"It is a priority for Kent Police and that is why the Force set up the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad in February of this year.
"Using the money raised by me from the council tax this team’s priority is to target burglary and similar crimes. It has already secured hundreds of arrests across the county.
"I understand that some communities like Sandwich sometimes feel neighbouring towns receive greater support from Kent Police, but I would like to reassure the public that simply is not the case.
"As well as a dedicated PCSO, Sandwich is also served by Local District Policing Teams, Community Safety Units and the wider force.
"Since 2016, I have made the decision to increase the policing part of council tax bills which has enabled the recruitment of 450 extra police officers. We have also been able to protect our 300 PCSOs.
"With these new officers, who will be further supported by the 147 new recruits recently pledged to Kent Police for the first year of the Government’s national recruitment drive, it makes me confident the service Kent Police provides to the public will only improve further."
A spokesman said: "Kent Police is investigating a report a shop in Market Street, Sandwich, was burgled at around 1.40am on Sunday, October 20 2019.
"At present no items are reported to have been stolen and officers are conducting ongoing enquiries to establish the full circumstances."