Burglars escape as police head to wrong town

Sue's of Combe Martin.

Sue's of Combe Martin. - Credit: Archant

Cigarettes and alcohol taken from Sue’s of Combe Martin while officers sent to Ilfracombe instead.

BURGLARS made off with £5,400 in stock from Sue’s of Combe Martin – while police were sent to Ilfracombe five miles away.

Owner Sue Sussex is furious after the early hours raid on Friday saw offenders make a hole in a side window to get into the Cross Street shop.

As if losing £5,000 in cigarettes and £400 in alcohol wasn’t enough, Mrs Sussex said the thieves should have been caught in the act during an operation which is thought to have lasted around three hours.

“At 3.20am they were actually seen by a member of the public walking down the road,” she said.

“He called the police, gave them all the information, the location and said it was happening right then. He was on the phone for over two minutes, then they sent two cars to Ilfracombe and then logged it off as being dealt with.”

She said staff arriving at work called the police again at 6am and 6.30, before officers arrived – at the right location - at 7.30.

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Mrs Sussex said she was very upset by the ‘incompetence’ shown in the police system: “It’s such a drastic mistake, that they went to Ilfracombe when they were told quite clearly where it was and what was happening,” she added.

She said has made an official complaint and was told it was being investigated.

Now she is offering a reward for any information leading to the conviction of the burglars, as well as a reward for any stock recovered.

“I have been here 42 years and this is the first time I have ever had an actual break in,” she said.

“I would like to thank all the local people for the support they have shown in the last few days.”

A Devon and Cornwall Constabulary spokesperson said it could not comment on Mrs Sussex’s complaint while it was being investigated.

But they said the crime was being investigated and asked anyone who saw anything or who has any information to call 101, quoting CI/13/828.

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