Banbury charity shop burglary leaves manager in tears - nine other businesses also targeted

Ten businesses burgled in Banbury within last two weeks

The burglary of a charity shop in Banbury's town centre left its manager in shock and in tears.

But Tracey Montgomery, the manager of the Cancer Research UK charity shop, has also been overwhelmed by the number of people offering to help after the store burglary.

The charity shop burglary is one of 10 business burglaries under investigation by police within the last two weeks.

The Cancer Research UK charity shop and Hawkes Sports store were among several businesses in the Banbury to be targeted in a spate of burglaries

The spate of burglaries struck the town centre area during a time when many businesses were shut due to the second Covid-19 lockdown.

Tracey Montgomery said: "It was really just a big shock. It was really upsetting. I was in tears. Just at this horrible time, it makes it worse, but we've got to pick it up and keep on going."

Thames Valley Police believe all the burglaries to be linked with each other. While no arrests have been made, enquiries are ongoing by police.

A spokesperson for the Thames Valley Police said: "We are investigating a series of burglaries at businesses within Banbury over the past two weeks.

The Scope charity shop was among several businesses targeted in a spate of town centre burglaries in Banbury over the last two weeks

“We are carrying out a thorough investigation into these incidents, which are being linked at this time. We would ask anyone with information to please get in touch calling 101 requesting to speak to Sergeant Sarah Nash of the Banbury Problem Solving Team.

“We would advise business owners to remain vigilant, and to report any suspicious activity and also for them to review the security measures they have in place.”

Police are investigating the following burglaries in Banbury.

Four of the burglaries occurred on the same day on Friday November 27, which included Specsavers, Rainbow Nails and Anna Salon, all located on Bridge Street. The Cancer Research UK charity shop was listed as being burgled twice on that same day, Friday November 27.

Hawkes Sports store and the Cancer Research UK charity shop were among several in the Banbury town centre to be targeted in a spate of burglaries

Tracey added: "I've been here a year, and my volunteers have just been perfect. It's been such a hard year. I've got volunteers who have been here for 27 years. I've had two of them come in and help me clean up the glass. It's just like a family here.

It's believed possibly only a few items of merchandise may have been stolen during the burglary. The burglar(s) went straight for the till, leaving it severely damaged.

Tracey said they were meant to open tomorrow, Wednesday December 2, like many other town centre shops, but she is still waiting on a new till to be delivered. She hopes to reopen by tomorrow afternoon or Thursday at the latest.

Since the burglary happened she has received nearly 50 messages on Facebook from people offering to help. Someone even offered to provide a new till for the store.

She added: "It's just been overwhelming. It's makes you feel good at how people are coming together to offer to help. Something like this will bring us closer."

The Hawkes Sports store located next door to the Cancer Research charity shop was burgled less than a week earlier on Sunday November 22.

Nathan Hawkes, the owner of the sport shop, said his business was burgled after someone threw a brick through the window.

He said: "We've had no income now for a month and then to be stung with another £1,000 bill is obviously not ideal."

But Nathan said he's not going to let the burglary keep him from trading.

They will be open from tomorrow, Wednesday December 2, offering a variety of sport related Christmas gift ideas ranging from footballs to hockey sticks to personalised coffee mugs.

Nathan has run his shop from its Parsons Street location for seven years and never been burgled.

He said: "I think this exact street and area is probably due to the lockdown circumstances and it being more quiet than usual."

Police are also investigating three other burglaries, which occurred on the same day. The Scope Charity Shop in the High Street, the Abraxas Cookshop in Market Place and the Dulux Decorator Centre (paint store) in Lower Cherwell Street, Waterside were all burgled on Thursday November 19.

The Rocha and Mar grocery store and cafe in Calthorpe Street was burgled on Tuesday November 17.

The Mill Arts Centre in Spiceball Park Road was burgled twice, first on Sunday November 15 and then again on November 19 or 20.