Spate of burglaries on Luton’s Wellington Street as shop staff ask police to step up patrols

Wellington Street
Wellington Street

Worried Luton shop owners on Wellington Street are calling on Bedfordshire Police to crack down on crime after a spate of break-ins.

On Thursday, August 30, in the early hours of the morning The Tanning Shop was broken into, and on Friday, August 31, the International Supermarket was burgled at around 5am.

There was then an attempted break-in at some Wellington Street flats at 3.30am on Saturday, September 1, while the owner of G’s Gourmet Burgers also told the Luton News that his car was broken into in May.

Mohammed Riaz, owner of G’s Gourmet Burgers, alleged: “As a business owner on Wellington Street I am very concerned at the spate of robberies on our street.

“A few months a go in May my car was broken into I lost approximately £900 worth of items, including my iPod.

“Now with the recent break-ins, it is getting out of hand. There are no police patrols. They need somebody on the beat, so people can see the area is policed. Nothing is being done to help.”

A staff member at International Supermarket, claimed: “It’s been going on for months - I think almost every single shop has been broken into.

“I’ve sent the police CCTV of three men [August 31 break-in], but these incidents are still going on.

“I think whoever it was may have climbed over the roof. The offenders came in from the rear entrance and took cash, cigarettes and telephone cards (top ups).

“I think that they got in the back door with a metal bar.

“They took £2,000 of delivery money and £1,000 from the cash float.

“The whole cigarette cabinet was empty; that’s about £3,000.

“I lost £1,000 worth of telephone cards and they also took some expensive lighters. They broke the till and to get the door fixed is another £200.

“When I first came in the shop was so messy - then I realised everything was gone!

“A forensic officer has been to look for fingerprints but that was because she happened to be in the area, so she came here for a couple of hours - otherwise they wouldn’t have come immediately.”

Andrea Gyorgy, tanning consultant at The Tanning Shop, claimed: “The break-in was last week and they came in through the back door.

“Nothing has been broken, nothing has been damaged but somehow they got in. When I arrived that morning I checked the back door and whoever it was had left it slighty open, so they must have come through.

“They had taken £20 from the till and opened all the cupboard doors in the reception. Everything was a mess.

“Luckily, they didn’t take any lotions.

“I was a bit upset because it has never happened before and my manager was quite shocked.

“The forensics lady came and she took pictures.”

However, one of the residents in the flats where an attempted break-in took place thanked Bedfordshire Police for their quick response.

She claimed: “I didn’t hear anything but my neighbours downstairs could hear them.

“They [the offenders] tried break the door, by kicking it I guess, but they didn’t manage to break the lock off.

“I called the police and within half an hour forensics were at the scene and a police officer stopped by.

“They were really good and I’m really keen for this to be sorted – it’s a little bit scary.”

A Bedfordshire Police spokeswoman, said: “Unfortunately, both the incidents at the Tanning Shop and the Off Licence yielded no forensic opportunities to follow up.

“We are at present, awaiting CCTV footage from both premises to be able to progress lines of enquiry.”

Commenting on the attempted break-in at the flats, the spokeswoman added: “We were called at around 3.30am on September 1 to a report of an attempted break-in at a property in Wellington Street.

“The main door leading to three flats located above a business has been damaged, as well the door lock. No entry was gained and so nothing was stolen.

“Officers are currently investigating. Anyone with information can call 101 or use our online reporting tool quoting reference: 40/21912/18.”