Smash and grab raiders who broke into a chemists and an opticians in Lutterworth in the early hours of today (Tuesday) are being hunted by police.
The gang broke into Fortnams Chemist on the town’s High Street in pitch-black darkness at about 3.30am.
They are also believed to have targeted Scrivens optician’s around the corner on Church Street before fleeing.
The burglars are now being sought by police after local officers backed up by the force’s Specialist Support Directorate unit dashed to the pharmacy in under 10 minutes.
Today Kris Vyas, the manager at Fortnams Chemist, told the Harborough Mail: “It’s a blow but we won’t let these criminals beat us – they’ll never win.
“We are opening today as usual because the people here in Lutterworth need us too much.
“I just hope that the people who did this are caught by the police and brought to justice.”
Kris said the alarm was raised at about 3.30am this morning.
He said his uncle Hasmukh Vyas, who owns the popular chemist’s, jumped out of bed and raced to the scene after he was alerted by police.
“The police got here at about 3.46am, they were very quick but they didn’t find anyone here.
“The gang smashed down our front door to get in.
“The intruders ransacked our perfume cabinet,” said Kris, who said the chemist’s has been established in Lutterworth for 40 years.
“They stole between 50 and 80 bottles of expensive perfumes and fragrances.
“Their whole haul must be worth £1,500-£2,000,” said Kris, who’s worked there for 16 years.
“We are insured for it.
“They actually lifted the pane of glass from the cabinet without smashing it.
“They put it down carefully – with a couple of footprints on it.
“So they escaped with a bag of perfumes.
“But they were silly and left behind their own bag, a grey bag, stashed with bottles of perfume here.
“We have a silent alarm which links straight through to the police.
“And perhaps they were surprised by how quickly the police reacted and they ran off.
“It was a real smash and grab.
“Forensics officers are here now working on the shop as they search for vital clues.
“We have CCTV cameras inside the store and police will obviously be analysing and studying the footage,” said Kris, of Leicester.
“I’m just hoping that the culprits have been caught in the act on camera – and that they’ll be punished.
“Scrivens the opticians around the corner has also been broken into through the night.
“So it looks as if these criminals have been casing the area and knew exactly what they were doing.
“We’ve boarded up the front door and we’ve been sweeping up shattered shards of glass in the shop all morning.
“We are having to tread very carefully, there’s that much glass scattered around.
“But we have opened as usual.
“We are a close-knit community here in Lutterworth and we’ll never back down or give in,” said Kris.
“A lot of people depend on us for their prescriptions and medical support and we won’t let them down.
“We are bouncing back from this straight away – and the community are fully behind us, they’re brilliant.”
Raiders also broke in to Scrivens the opticians just yards away on Church Street through the night.
They stole pairs of glasses from the business before making off.
Leicestershire Police said today: “Police were called to High Street, Lutterworth, on reports of noises being heard.
“Local officers attended along with specialist resources from our Specialist Support Directorate and were on scene in under 10 minutes.
“Attending officers found a property broken into to the front on the High Street.
“Despite our quick attendance no suspects were located within,” said police.
“We have secured the property with the owners and are liaising with forensics.
“We are appealing to witnesses.
“If anyone has any footage or has seen anything they feel might be connected between the hours of 0315 until 0400 in the area around the High Street, Lutterworth, then please get in touch.
“Please contact us online or via 101 and quote 21000504647.”