Village fighting back against crime

Julie and Chris Bruce from Lower Hopton News. The newsagents was burgled last week which was a huge blow to the business. (D541B320)
Julie and Chris Bruce from Lower Hopton News. The newsagents was burgled last week which was a huge blow to the business. (D541B320)
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A family of shopkeepers is urging their customers to join the fight against thieves and petty criminals.

The owners of Lower Hopton News are helping set up a new Neighbourhood Watch group after their shop was burgled.

They are touched by the way the community has rallied together since thieves smashed a window and stole scratch cards and sweets.

Julie Bruce, who runs the shop with her son Chris, said: “The only thing we have gained from this is how much our customers do think of us and the amazing response we have had from people in the area.”

Chris, 23, discovered the damage when he arrived at work just before 5am on Friday May 3.

“I didn’t know if they were still in here or not,” he said. “It was frightening.”

The thieves also damaged a cigarette cabinet and the burglary has cost the shop around £1,500 in repairs.

“It was quite devastating to be honest – we’ve spent 17 years building a business up,” said Mrs Bruce, whose husband Adrian also works at the shop in Calder Road.

“We are struggling but we want to stay here, but when you get something like this it doesn’t help.”

To help Lower Hopton News, local traders have made repairs as cost prices. “We knew it was a close community but I certainly didn’t realise how close and how supportive they all are,” Chris said.

The family is now urging Lower Hopton residents to sign up for the new Neighbourhood Watch group. People can call into the shop, ring the store on 01924 493329 or visit www.ourwatch.org.uk.

“All of a sudden, over the last few weeks, there has been quite a bit of small crime in the area – cars broken into, house burglaries, people breaking into sheds,” Mrs Bruce said. “I think people need to be aware.”

Keith Haigh, of Calder Road, who is co-ordinating the Neighbourhood Watch, said: “There has been two or three houses done, the shop has been done, and it wants clearing up. It never used to be like this.”

Contact the Dewsbury and Mirfield Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101 with any information on the burglary at Lower Hopton News.