Published: 14:01, 25 February 2020
| Updated: 14:12, 25 February 2020
A convenience store manager says his family are living in fear after thieves struck twice in a year as they slept upstairs.
Jay Karthik says a gang of designer-clad teenagers forced open the front door of his One Stop shop in High Halden near Tenterden in the early hours of Saturday morning, waking his 15-month-old sleeping son.
His terrified wife tried to comfort their child as CCTV from the shop below played out showing the yobs smashing the cigarette shutter, stripping the shelves bare, while stealing bottles of spirits and breaking into the tills and safe.
Mr Karthik, 33, said: "All of the gang were dressed in designer gear and they could have been from as young as 16 to around the age of 25. They were wearing Storm Island clothing, Nike trainers and carrying Gucci bags.
"I couldn't afford those clothes and I work very hard to make living.
"They even took a shopping basket from my own store to carry the cigarettes out to the car.
"When I heard the first bang downstairs I was on the phone to the police and they came quite quickly but by the time they got here the gang was long gone."
CCTV captures raiders at the store on Saturday
Just over a year ago ram-raiders driving a Cherokee Jeep reversed into the building multiple times in a failed attempt to pull out the ATM.
The building was extensively damaged and the shop ransacked.
After the ram-raid Jay decided to get rid of the cashpoint so that his premises would be less likely to become a target. He now plans to install shutters and bollards to further protect the village store on the A28. Mr Karthik said the ram-raid had a profound effect on him.
He added: "I found it really difficult to sleep at night after the ram-raid and had to go to my GP for sleeping tablets as I kept waking up every time a noisy lorry went passed the shop."
"Now I'm awake at night again and sometimes I have to watch the CCTV to see that nothing is happening before I can get back to sleep.
"I moved from London to High Halden for a peaceful life and so that I could bring my family up in safety only for this to happen."
The dad-of-one said that his loyal customers have made him determined to stay at the store.
"My customers have been so supportive they have been ringing up and offering help and sending me messages on Facebook. Some customers have even offered me money.
Mr Karthik is also loyal to his customers.
He said: "The raid happened at 2.10am and I still opened up the shop at 7am as I know my customers need me, especially the older ones who rely on me to get bread, milk and a newspaper in the mornings.
"If I wasn't open they would have to get a bus into Tenterden for their shopping which costs around £5 and there are no buses on a Sunday."
Mr Karthik's neighbours have also helped him patch up the shop following both raids.
He said: "The whole village has been brilliant and they are like a family to me."
Police confirmed they attended the burglary that happened at 2.20am on Saturday morning but no arrests have been made.
Anybody with information should call police on 01843 222289 quoting crime reference 46/33501/20.
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More by this authorRachael Woods