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Sheppey businessman Terry Utting blasts police for lack of action over burglary at TJ's E-cigarettes store in Leysdown


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A vape shop owner who says he tracked down thieves who stole £8,000 of goods from his store has accused police of not investigating his burglary fast enough.

Burglars raided Terry Utting's Sheppey store almost two weeks ago. Yet still no arrests have been made despite Mr Utting offering to hand over information to the police.

Owner Terry Utting after the raid at TJ's E-cigarettes store in Leysdown
Owner Terry Utting after the raid at TJ's E-cigarettes store in Leysdown

"It's an absolute joke," he stormed. "The police have not done a single thing despite us collecting CCTV footage from other shops, taking statements from taxi drivers and getting reports of where the thieves were staying.

"At one time we were told they had all my stock stashed in a caravan on a holiday park. We tried to tell the police this but no one would listen. Now we are told my stock has been sold for £700 and the culprits are back in Bromley.

"We had their names and even a phone number for them. It isn't acceptable. All the police had to do was go and arrest them. We've ended up doing all their leg work but no one would come to talk to me."

Raiders struck at his shop in the early hours of Thursday, October 14. Forensics officers inspected the premises in Leysdown High Street but since then Mr Utting says his calls have got him nowhere.

"It is frustrating because I knew where the thieves were but the police refused to act.

CCTV footage of two suspects approaching Terry Utting's vape shop in Leysdown High Street
CCTV footage of two suspects approaching Terry Utting's vape shop in Leysdown High Street

"When I called 101 with this information, call handlers insisted that only one officer could deal with my case and he was off. It's a ridiculous state of affairs. I have a ton of information."

During the early morning raid the shelves at his shop, TJ's E-cigarettes, were cleared of goods and a till containing cash was stolen. Witnesses said they saw a man and woman wheeling away a shopping trolley.

Mr Utting said police visited him on Saturday, October 16, and took away CCTV recordings and another officer visited him last Thursday, October 21, after he made a formal complaint.

But this Monday, October 25, 12 days after the break-in, Mr Utting said there had still been no arrests and has called on Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson to help.

Mr Utting added: "I'm not happy with this at all. I've had enough. It's an absolute disgrace. I had the suspects' names and address and now they are in Bromley. It's too little, too late. They have sold my £8,000 of stock for £700."

Empty display cabinets at Terry Utting's Leysdown shop
Empty display cabinets at Terry Utting's Leysdown shop
Empty boxes at Terry Utting's vape shop
Empty boxes at Terry Utting's vape shop
The smashed front door of Terry Utting's ransacked shop
The smashed front door of Terry Utting's ransacked shop

A police spokesman said: "We are investigating a report that cash and a large quantity of e-cigarette items were stolen from a shop in Leysdown High Street overnight on October 13 and 14.

"Officers attended the scene and on the same date the offence was reported reviewed CCTV from a nearby business. A crime scene investigator also assessed the premises for forensic samples.

"On October 16 officers were able to seize additional CCTV from council-owned cameras.

"They also received further information from the victim who had gathered additional video footage which has since been collected and is being assessed.

"Inquiries to identify the suspects remain ongoing."

Anyone who thinks they have information which can be of assistance is asked to call 01795 419119, quoting 46/204176/21 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555111 or by using the online form by clicking here.

To get the latest updates in ongoing cases, police appeals and criminals put behind bars, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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