My life left ‘hammered on a personal and financial level’ says March toy shop owner left reeling by burglary

Lena Rowlands in her March toy shop which wa sburgled

Lena Rowlands in her March toy shop which wa sburgled - Credit: Archant

A toy shop owner says her Christmas has been left in ruins and left her “hammered on a personal and financial level” after a break-in.

Lena Howlands

Lena Howlands - Credit: Archant

Burglars broke in during the early hours after smashing their way into her recently opened shop in Fenland Walk, March.

Traders, March

Traders, March - Credit: Archant

Her misery was compounded, she says, after being shown CCTV footage by the shopkeeper at March Pet Shop – also broken into the same night- which shows the raiders carrying her lap top and bag.

A man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of both burglaries and has been released on bail.

Lena Rowlands opened Toy Traders in June after moving from the High Street and until now she said “business has been all right with a steady flow of trade”.

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But following the break in she says “this has hammered me on a personal as well as a financial level. They have ruined my life for the next four months”.

Ms Rowlands , originally a bookkeeper, switched to selling toys out of the boot of a car before opening her High Street shop.

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On Tuesday she said she had gone to the bank first and her partner went to the shop.

“As he pulled up outside he saw the padlock was not on the gate. I think he originally thought I may have left it unlocked but he then realised the five bolt lock had been removed using a crowbar and the door had been smashed in.”

She said they appeared to have used a crowbar to get through a metal gate at the rear “and then quite violently had kicked out the lock”. She has since been forced to replace the £1,000 door “which was covered by insurance but of course the premium will rise. It is ‘lose lose’ everywhere.”

On the lap top were her accounts dating back two years which she had backed up on a separate hard drive which was in the case and also stolen. She now faces weeks of manual effort to get her books back in order.

March Pet Shop in Station Road was burgled afterwards – and £50 taken- and owner Rob Phipps, who has handed CCTV images to police, is offering a £100 reward to find the culprits.

He said: “The burglar used a crowbar to enter then rummaged around the store for half an hour. The person is wearing a dark hoodie, tracksuit bottoms, new trainers and is carrying a holdall.

“Anyone walking past the shop at the time would have seen the burglar through the window playing with the till.”

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