‘Brazen’ shoplifters target town business

Jo Watson of Dandy Lions in Buckingham
Jo Watson of Dandy Lions in Buckingham

A spate of thefts has been another blow for a small business that has already seen sales suffer due to roadworks.

Jo Watson, the owner of Buckingham childrenswear shop Dandy Lions, is facing the unwanted expense of installing CCTV, after falling victim to opportunistic thieves three times this year.

In May, thieves raided her store, on Cornwall Place, in the middle of the night, stealing £700 worth of upmarket Hatley children’s raincoats and pyjamas by hooking them out one by one through the letterbox.

They were caught by the police but most of the garments were never recovered.

And within the last fortnight, Mrs Watson has had £200 worth of her new season’s stock stolen from under her nose by brazen shoplifters on two separate occasions.

Mrs Watson said the clothes appeared to have been carefully chosento make co-ordinating outfits.

She is now in the process of having CCTV installed.

She said: “CCTV is just another expense on top of losing money and also it’s a route I didn’t really want to go down.

“It’s not the feel of the shop. I have to keep the door shut now, which is not as friendly but it might just be another deterrent.

“I’m more upset about the shoplifting because it’s just so brazen and unfair.

“I’ve had so much support from my regular customers.

“The amount that’s gone is really quite damaging for a little shop that’s still quite new.

“It’s a tough old game and it’s soul destroying.

“You work so hard and it’s tough for so little reward at the moment.

“There are so many things affecting retailers in these hard times.”

In addition, Mrs Watson said, the ongoing roadworks to the Buckingham bypass have had a big impact on her business and others in the town.

“I’m busier midweek at the moment than I am on Saturdays,” she said.

Owner of Finca El Monte on Well Street, Claire Gallagher, agreed. She said: “It’s ridiculous. Our takings went down by such a chunk the week after the roadworks started. We had people say it’s taken them so long to get into Buckingham they’re not coming back.

“I used to have regular customers that came from Bicester and they’re not coming any more.”