An emergency public meeting has been called in Banbridge after a recent spate of burglaries and thefts, the latest at Card Cave, which has been hitthree times in five days.
DUP Councillor and Assembly Candidate Carla Lockhart has called the meeting with PSNI Chief Inspector David Moore - it will take place at Banbridge Leisure Centre on Thursday 11 February at 7pm.
Card Cave owner Mark Sands has been left fed up by the recent thefts.
He said: “We were burgled last Wednesday, Friday and then again on Monday morning. It was the same people using the same car.
“It is an annoyance for staff more than anything else and they have been left shaken from the incidents. We want to draw a line under it and be vigilant and just try to soldier on as best we can.”
Mr Sands also questioned the logistics of police having to come from Lurgan.
He said: “I have to say the police were excellent. Those boys (burglars) are in and out in seconds and back into their car within minutes.
“Two members of the public ran after them and wiht police coming from Lurgan, maybe that is having an impact.”
Police in Banbridge confirmed there had been three burglaries at the business in the past five days.
A spokesperson said: “Around 10am on Monday, 1 February, two males entered business premises on Newry Street. The men took six Yankee candles. Staff challenged them but they made off on foot before getting into a black Vauxhall Corsa.
“The two men are described as being around 30years old, 6ft tall, of slim build with dark, wavy hair. One of the males was wearing a grey, padded jacket, black jeans and carried a khaki green satchel. The second male was wearing a black jacket and black jeans.
“This is the third theft at these premises in the past five days.”
Police would like to hear from anyone who has information which may assist their investigation. They can be contacted on 101, quoting ref: 304 010206.
Cllr Lockhart said: “To have a local card shop, Card Cave burgled three times in five days, all of which resulted in a loss of stock is worrying. It would appear that it was the same individuals which demonstrates an organised group of people targeting our business community.
“I have been speaking with the owner and the PSNI and I am strongly encouraging business owners and home owners to attend the PSNI meeting organised for Thursday 11 February at 7pm in Banbridge Leisure Centre.
“This is a meeting aimed at giving the public a say and allowing them to hear first hand from the PSNI about what is happening out on the ground.
“It will also allow businesses, and home owners to voice their concerns and encourage more on the beat policing.
“I would also encourage home owners and business owners to take the relevant security measures to try and prevent these individuals in the future.”
Cllr Paul Greenfield added: “When I last met with the chamber of trade in Banbridge burglaries were high on the agenda. I welcome the fact that the PSNI have agreed to a public meeting with this being one of the main topics for discussion. I would encourage everyone to be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the PSNI.”