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Temporary Co-op shop in The Street, Upchurch, closed after break-in

A temporary shop installed in a village after the original store burnt down has been broken into.

The Co-op brought in the trailor this week after the branch in The Street, Upchurch, was gutted by a fire believed to have been started by an e-cigarette at about 10pm on Monday, April 29.

But it has had to close today after vandals helped themselves to stock last night, including cigarettes.

The Co-op set up a pop-up shop in the yard next to their store in Upchurch. Stock image
The Co-op set up a pop-up shop in the yard next to their store in Upchurch. Stock image

It is not known exactly what time it happened but the incident was reported to police at 8.06am.

A Co-op spokesman said: "We can confirm there was an incident at the pop-up shop in Upchurch.

"The store is closed whilst we assess the damage and we apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.

"Co-op takes retail crime very seriously and implements a range of measures to both deter criminal activity and to aid convictions.

"We are working with the police and an investigation is underway. We appeal for anyone with information to come forward."

He could not say how long the unit will have to stay closed for.

The nearest Co-op branches are in Newington High Street and Parkwood Green in Rainham.

A look inside the shop after the fire

Helen Boakes was with her friend this morning when she heard the news while posting a letter nearby.

She said: "I can't believe it, the fact the Co-op has gone to this level for the village and it's been damaged and emptied.

"It's a lifeline for so many elderly people in the village and they rely on it.

"I think it's terrible that someone can do that after what's happened.

"I'm just really upset for the residents and staff."

A police spokesman confirmed officers were called and an investigation has opened.

Anyone with information can call police on 01795 419119 quoting reference number 08-0270.

You can also report information anonymously with Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne.

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