A Lancashire retailer is
distraught after his store was ransacked by thieves a staggering four times in one night.
Stock worth thousands of pounds was stolen from Oaklands Off Licence in Kersal after a suspected arson attack left the building vulnerable to thieves. The first break-in occurred just hours after the flames had been extinguished, and each time the shop was secured thieves broke back in and stole more goods.
A crew of 15 firefighters attended the blaze, which took 10 hours to extinguish and destroyed the neighbouring buildings.
Amnan Sharif, who was running the store for family friend Tajmal Khan, said: “I’m just completely shocked and devastated by what’s happened. I was hoping to buy the store and extend it to make it better for the community. I just can’t believe that people could act like this.
“Those who broke in after the fire took everything,” added Amnan. “All they left was the cat food.”
He said he feared that the arson attack and burglaries were racially motivated.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the burglaries and police are appealing for witnesses to come forward.
Detective sergeant Julie Connor said: “A man’s business has been targeted deliberately. The building and business have been severely damaged in the incident, but thankfully no one was injured.
“This was a reckless and dangerous act and whoever is responsible must be caught.”