Ram-raiders target designer shop

Police are investigating
Police are investigating

A ram-raid gang has smashed a car through the front doors of a Lisburn designer clothes store.

Style Gallery in Market Place was subject to the burglary at around 5.15 on Wednesday morning.

Manager Aaron Taggart said: “This is the third time in the last three years. They take thousands of pounds worth of clothes every time.”

On one occasion they targeted True Religion jeans worth up to £450 per pair.

On another they “cleared the racks” of designer clothes, but were interrupted.

Mr Taggart had been upstairs in the shop on that particular night and heard the window downstairs smashing.

“I came downstairs and they must have thought it was the police. They all just started to try climbing out.”

His business stocks brands such as Circle of Gentlemen casual shirts, retailing at up to £150 each, and blazers of the same brand retailing at up to £1,500.

The only description he could give from that burglary was that they were wearing baseball caps.

“The CCTV showed them with their heads down,” he said. “They were just wee hoods.

“The police took forensics and made an arrest last time but I am not sure where that has got to.”

He described the latest attack as “random”.

“In October they smashed into a toy store in Belfast but could not get in so they came straight to my store instead. The car was seen on CCTV.”

On the first two occasions they smashed the front window to gain entry. So Aaron put up steel bars as a response.

“But this time they just smashed the car right through the doors.”

He has previously heard that the goods were being sold in west Belfast.

“The car that was used before was found burnt out in Andersonstown,” he added.

The PSNI said that a silver or grey-coloured car rammed the front of the shop. Two males took a quantity of clothing and placed it into the car, a spokesman said.

Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information to contact CID at Lisburn Police Station on the new non-emergency number 101, or anonymously via the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Councillor Brian Bloomfield, chair of the Lisburn Community Safety Policing Partnership, said he was not aware of any previous ram-raiding in the city.

“As far as I am aware this is obviously a new type of crime in Lisburn,” he said.