Resilient Hockliffe shopkeepers reopen convenience store after ramraid

Resilient Hockliffe shopkeepers have reopened their convenience store after it was ramraided and robbed on Thursday (June 27).

Postmaster Saj Odedra and his wife, Puti, were left feeling "shaken" when a white flatbed van drove into the front of the premises at 1.50am and two men stole bags of goods.

The scene on Thursday morning. Credit: Liz Wilson.

The scene on Thursday morning. Credit: Liz Wilson.

However, despite the damage, the determined pair opened their business this morning and were grateful to see the familiar faces of all the customers who came to support them.

Saj told the LBO: "We live nearby and got a phone call from the alarm people.

"It was terrible.

"I've no idea [of the cost] yet, but there's big damage, a lot of work needs doing to the building, the structure.

"It happens everywhere these days. We had always been lucky but now we are unlucky. It's nothing new.

"They took the normal things, cigarettes, alcohol, cash.

"We still feel a bit shaken."

After the incident, the couple have found all the support they have received heartwarming, and are determined to carry on as normal.

Saj said: "We have been here since 1994 - a long time. We enjoy our job because of our customers, the public.

"People have given my wife flowers and I would like to thank everybody for their help and support, and who has come to the shop today. We really appreciate it.

"What happened is upsetting but of course we will carry on working. We can't stay down and walk away!"

Saj and Puti are now busy sorting out the repairs, as the front of the shop has been boarded up after the emergency.

It is expected that the Post Office within the shop will be open by tomorrow morning at the latest, and possibly later this afternoon.

Detective Sergeant Tom Hamm, investigating, said: “We are following a number of lines of enquiry to catch those responsible, including examining CCTV which was in the area.

“We have identified a number of vehicles which drove past the Post Office in the moments before the incident, as well as during the offence.

“We would be really keen to speak to anyone who was in those vehicles, as well as anybody who has any dash cam footage which might help with our enquiries.”

Two men wearing dark clothing and with their faces covered went into the store.

They emerged a short while afterwards with two bags of items before driving off again.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 or via the online reporting centre on the Bedfordshire Police website, quoting reference 15 of today (Thursday).

You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.