Lockdown : Newark shops aim to stop raiders
Fed-up shopkeepers plagued by break-ins and vandalism are calling for increased security to protect their businesses.
They want gates installed to prevent night-time access to The Arcade, Newark.
Seven out of ten premises in The Arcade, which connects the Market Place to Cartergate, have been burgled or vandalised in the last seven weeks and shopkeepers say they wonder who will be next.
The area is also a target for anti-social behaviour, cyclists who flout bylaws and rough sleepers.
Shops have had eggs thrown at them and sauce smeared over their frontages.
Mr Richard Pearson, who owns Arcade Framing Gallery, has launched a petition among fellow shopkeepers and the public.
It will be presented to the managing agent, the Lincoln office of Lambert Smith Hampton, at a meeting where the shopkeepers plan to air their views.
Mr Pearson said: “We want to be handing them the petition and the statistics and saying ‘let’s get something done today.’”
“This is supposed to be a jewel in Newark’s crown.
“I see a situation where if they don’t go for gates, people will leave here. We will relocate somewhere else in town.”
'A lot of anti-social behaviour'
The owner of Gaming Squad, Mr Luke Mitchell, said: “Gates would reduce the risk of theft and damage.
“In addition to the break-ins and the vandalism, we have had people defecating, urinating and procreating in doorways.
“A lot of anti-social behaviour takes place down here outside of business hours.
“Gates were put up at The Buttermarket so there is no reason why they cannot be put up here.”
Gaming Squad was broken into and ransacked on Christmas Day.
There were fears the shop might not re-open, but Mr Mitchell said he hoped to be trading again in February.
The Barber’s Shop was burgled on Friday night. The front door was smashed, the interior ransacked and the till and hairdressing equipment were stolen.
“To them it was probably worth about £15 as we keep nothing on the premises,” said manager Mrs Toni Bartlett. “But to us the cost will run into thousands.”
The shop was closed on Saturday, one of its busiest days, when 30 to 40 people usually have their hair cut.
Mrs Bartlett has asked Newark MP Mr Robert Jenrick to support the campaign.
Stitch Express has been burgled and had the door smashed on a separate occasion.
Kim Miklosz, from the business, said: “It is quite secluded here. It would be comforting to have gates.
“Both attacks I discovered when I came to work on Mondays. It makes you wonder what you will find when you come to work after a weekend and who is going to be next.”
Waqas Shazad, who works at Mobile World, said gates would offer security and protection.
Mobile World was burgled and around 40 phones and a laptop stolen.
“We were the first to be burgled and it seemed no one cared because it was just one, but now it is nearly everyone people are starting to take notice,” he said.
“We get a lot of marks left on the windows all of the time — coffee and ketchup — and a lot of rubbish left outside.
“It is about time something was done. We should not have to put up with it.”
Inspector Louise Clarke, of Newark Police, said: “We are aware of a number of reports of break-ins in The Arcade recently.
“We support local businesses to take steps to ensure their shops are secure, therefore we would not oppose the petition.”
Lambert Smith Hampton said it was company policy not to comment to the media.