Appeal after meat theft at popular farm shop

John Coles pictured next to the meat counter which was emptied by thieves at his farm shop this week. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 8923-17-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

John Coles pictured next to the meat counter which was emptied by thieves at his farm shop this week. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 8923-17-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Meat thieves trashed a popular farm shop outside Sidmouth and made off with hundreds of pounds-worth of stock.

Police are appealing for witnesses after the theft from East Hill Pride Farm Shop last Thursday.

Owner John Coles found chaos when he arrived after criminals had broken in and wrenched open his high-security doors.

The thieves made off with all of the meat, with Mr Coles adding: “They even disabled the security lights and stole the CCTV cameras as well.”

He said they broke into the shed at the farm to steal a pair of bolt cutters and make a hole in his fence for their escape.

The thieves made off with both the meat on display, and from his freezers, all of which is stamped with the East Hill Pride Logo.

Mr Coles is urging the public to be on the lookout for it if they are offered meat for sale, including chicken, bacon and beef.

The fifth generation farmer, who also owns East Hill abattoir with his son Richard, said they completely trashed the shop, breaking his coffee machine, stealing the microwave and smashing eggs on the walls and floor.

Mr Coles said the thieves even cut the meat up using his own equipment before stealing it.

Sergeant Andy Turner said police are appealing for anyone that passed the entrance of the business on the A3052 between 5pm Wednesday, April 25, and 9am the following morning.

Sgt Turner said: “It is unusual. A substantial quantity of meat was stolen.

“It’s one of the biggest crimes of this kind that I know of.”

He said the thieves faced a race against time to sell the perishable meat, and echoed Mr Coles plea to people to be wary of anyone offering cheap meat at markets and car boot sales.

The officer added: “This is a local business that is well supported by local people. I hope the community can get together to catch the offenders.”

He urged anyone who saw parked vehicles or any suspicious behaviour to come forward and contact police on 101, with reference number KS/12/224.


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