A Birmingham retailer is furious that her local police are not doing enough to crack down on a spate of 'swarming' burglaries.
Harjinder Goyal's store, Goyal's News in Kingstanding, is the latest to fall victim to gangs she describes as East Europeans using distraction to steal from shopkeepers.
The tactic, which involves large groups of 'customers' entering a store and then keeping staff occupied while accomplices burgle offices and living quarters, has resurfaced in recent weeks after a series of incidents and arrests in 2002 and 2003, as reported at the time by Convenience Store.
The latest incident occurred while Harjinder's daughters - aged 20 and 17 - were running the store. The burglars escaped with jewellery worth about £4,000 from the living area above the store.
Other similar incidents across the UK include raids on Wiltshire retailer Dave Fenwick's two stores in Wootton Bassett and Marlborough, where a gang escaped with £3,000 cash from the safe.
Harjinder told Convenience Store: "I had already made my children aware of the tactic because it happened to a relative of ours in Longbridge at the end of February, but they didn't realise what was going on.
"I've read no local press about the robberies but have heard of four other incidents in the area in the past month. The police should be cracking down on it. We need to make people more aware of this and put pressure on the police."
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "The incident at Goyal's News is currently being investigated. There is nothing specific at the moment to link this incident to others in the area, but we remain open- minded and will cross-check the crime with any similar incidents in the future.
"We urge retailers to be aware that large groups entering the store at the same time could be part of an organised gang targeting the property."

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