Couple bounce back after raid on shop

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 January 2011

Vanda Photography and Flowers, Julia and Paul Horton,  Milton Road, Weston.

Vanda Photography and Flowers, Julia and Paul Horton, Milton Road, Weston.

Archant

A BUNGLING burglar caught attempting a night-time raid on a business in Weston has been jailed.

Vanda Photography and Flowers, Julia and Paul Horton,  Milton Road, Weston.

Steven Varney, aged 50, was sent to prison for 17 weeks after breaking into Vanda Flowers and Photography in Milton Road. Varney, who lives in the same road, ransacked a studio and caused thousands of pounds of damage, but then became trapped and could not find a way out of the building.

A passer-by heard noises inside the building and called the police, and they arrested Varney at 2.30am on November 26.

This week, business owner Paul Horton praised the officers’ quick response and criticised Varney, who lives only a few doors down from the shop.

He said: “What he showed was a complete lack of respect for businesses such as ours which are battling hard through the recession. He obviously doesn’t care about anyone else and is willing to attack those in his own community. We were pleased to hear he spent his Christmas behind bars.”

Mr Horton opened up Vanda Photography with his wife, Julia, two years ago to support his long-established florist, 
formerly called Salisburys of Somerset.

He said he took the decision at a time when the recession was biting hard on town centres such as Weston and florist businesses were feeling the strain particularly badly.

Opening up a studio and retraining as a photographer, Mr Horton has enjoyed an upturn in business, despite the burglary in November.

He said: “The burglary was an incident we were not going to let set us back. We had worked hard to diversify into new markets to keep our business going and we were not going to allow one criminal to destroy all that.

“Following the ransacking of our studio we had the business up and running again for bookings the next week.”

Mr Horton said since the burglary security had been stepped up at the store, with shutters installed at the windows.

New equipment has also been purchased to replaced damaged studio lights and cameras.

Varney, who was convicted at Bristol Magistrates Court on November 26, is set to be released from prison on March 25.

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