A Devon couple have been forced to shut one of their two stores after being subjected to a string of robberies.
Chris Cotter and his wife Martine made the decision after £6,000 was taken in a raid at their St Budeaux store in Plymouth the end of October, after which their bank refused to provide a temporary overdraft or any assistance while insurance claims were processed.
Chris says that while last month's robbery - in which his pregnant cashier was threatened - was shocking, the lack of bank support ultimately forced them into the decision.
The couple, who have a four-year-old daughter and an 11-month-old son, are continuing to trade from their second store in nearby Millbridge, but say they are set to lose thousands from the sale of the St Budeaux store. They have also been forced to sell their house in an attempt to secure their future just five years after becoming retailers.
Chris told Convenience Store: "The robbery was the final straw, but the main reason all this has happened has been because of the lack of support from the bank while we waited for the insurance to pay out.
"The banks don't seem to have any interest in small businesses whatsoever. They were happy to get their claws in when we were starting out, but then they weren't there to provide any back-up when we really needed them."
Chris said he believed the bank had been extremely short-sighted: "As a going concern, the store was worth £130,000, but it's now gone on the market for about £60,000."
The St Budeaux store has been through a torrid time in recent times and the past three months have seen damage to shop windows alone amounting to close to £3,000. "Shoplifting and anti-social behaviour was a daily occurrence, and the robbery was the limit," said Chris. "The staff were reaching breaking point and we were left with no real money to trade with."
He added: "The police have been quite good. As things got worse they upped their presence and made arrests, but then the courts didn't do anything."
Despite his ordeal, Chris said he wanted to carry on in retailing. He added: "We'll have to dust ourselves down and start out again with a new plan."

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