Couple are facing ruin after thieves ransack their shop

A man who rebuilt his life after losing his job at the Alcan smelter has been left devastated once again after thieves ransacked his shop.

In 2012, Chris Charlton opened Grange Park Store in Bedlington Station with wife Irene, following the closure of Rio Tinto Alcan in Lynemouth.

Chris and Irene Charlton at their Grange Park Store which was burgled at the weekend. GM024725

Chris and Irene Charlton at their Grange Park Store which was burgled at the weekend. GM024725

But on Saturday morning when the couple opened up the newsagents on Park Avenue, they saw the carnage left by thieves who had taken cash, stock and three charity boxes.

Chris, 52, said: “You can’t print what I would call them, they’re scum.

“The charity boxes were for the blind, St Oswald’s and True Heroes, and stealing them is the lowest of the low.

“We’re on our knees.

“We’re determined to fight back, and the community want us to fight back, they want us here, but we’re not in a financial position to replace the money they took.”

On Wednesday, the couple was waiting for a visit from insurers to tell them the cost of the raid.

“It was as secure as it could be, said Mr Charlton.

“We’ve got CCTV cameras, but they took the hard drive out of both cameras.”

“They knew what they were doing.

“They removed the bolts from a heavy-duty metal grill, and they did it all quietly so they didn’t wake the couple who live in the flat above the shop.

“When it happened I thought we might as well just chuck it all in.

“The only thing that is keeping us going is the support from the community.

“They want us here and we are not willing to give up just yet.”

One customer, Michael Bell, said: “Chris and Irene go the extra mile to make sure the elderly residents don’t go without their essentials.

“The residents often call the shop and order items which Chris delivers on foot.

“This service is evermore essential to the elderly when the cold/icy weather sets in along with the dark evenings.

“It is disgusting at they took the three collection tins, I think this is a disgustingly low crime.”

Alcohol, cigarettes, takings, sweets, a personal savings tin and Mr Charlton’s laptop which contained important presonal and business files, were also taken in the burglary.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch with them by calling 101 ext 69191.