Grocers forced to stop selling veg outside store after excessive thefts

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:16 19 September 2019

Gardiner-Whites will no longer display produce at the front of the shop after 'excessive thefts'.  Picture: Mark Newman.

Gardiner-Whites will no longer display produce at the front of the shop after 'excessive thefts'. Picture: Mark Newman.

Mark Newman

A popular family-run greengrocer has stopped displaying fresh fruit and vegetables outside its store after a series of thefts.

Gardiner-Whites, in Burnham, has had a wide selection of fruit and vegetables on display outside the front of the store since it opened in 2017, but the owners say they will no longer have goods outside their shop due to an 'excessive level of thefts'.

In a statement on the award-winning stores Facebook page owners Richard and Jacqui Gardiner-White, said: "We're sorry guys we have tried our best to keep selling produce from outside the shop but due to excessive levels of theft from the front we have no choice but to keep all stock inside.

"We have also caught a thief steeling £15 to £20 worth of cheese today.

The couple are 'disheartened' by the thefts which they believed may have been occurring for a long time.

The thefts had been reported to the police and had made CCTV footage of the incident available to investigators in hopes of catching the cheese thieves.

Mr Gardiner-White said: "It seems like some people have been taking liberty of our good nature for some time now and it really disheartens us and makes us wonder why we keep going.

"We are a small family business and for us even the smallest theft really harms our business."

As a result of the thefts the business has begun working with the police and Sedgemoor District Council to promote the Safer Somerset Business Partnership, which sees businesses exchange information with other authorities in a bid to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the town.

He said: "It's early days here in Burnham but we are planning on visiting other local businesses to explain the scheme, and hopefully get lots of businesses signed up."

An Avon and Somerset Constabulary spokesman said: "We had a report of cheese stolen from a shop in High Street in Burnham on August 29 at about 2.40pm.

"Two men entered the shop and while one man distracted a member of staff the other took a quantity of cheese from the freezer.

"Police enquiries into the incident are continuing."

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting reference 5219199989.

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