City store brought back to life under new owners after theft spree

Hellesdon Convenience Store staff member Vitalija Janciziviene outside the new shop 

Hellesdon Convenience Store staff member Vitalija Janciziviene outside the new shop - Credit: Ben Hardy

An off licence which was cordoned off by police for months after a break-in has reopened under new owners.

The Hellesdon Convenience Store is back in operation in Lodore Avenue - just off Cromer Road - under Lithuanian businesswoman Rasa Varanauskiene.

She already owns three shops in Norwich, one in Attleborough and a coffee shop, and wanted to add Hellesdon to her list of business ventures.

The store has been given a new lease of life with plush new signage above the doorway.

Staff member Vitalija Janciziviene said: "The owner wanted to try something different and liked the location of the shop.

"It's next to a main road and we get a lot of workmen stopping for drinks. The kids also head straight to the sweet section when they come in after school.

Staff member Vitalija Janciziviene outside the newly opened convenience store just off Cromer Road

Staff member Vitalija Janciziviene outside the newly opened convenience store just off Cromer Road - Credit: Ben Hardy

"We cater for all ages. We had a 99-year-old lady come in the other day for her newspaper. She was telling me she is waiting for her birthday card from the Queen. 

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"It feels almost like a community centre. Some people come here to talk to someone if they are feeling lonely at home."

Staff at the revamped shop are confident there will be no repeat of the early hours break-in which took place in November last year.

A thief forced entry into the premises and stole around £300 worth of goods at the time.

Neighbours were left wondering what would happen to the site as it remained vacant months later with police cordon still visible. 

Police tape can still be seen at the convenience store just off Cromer Road in Norwich 

The store was closed for months with a police cordon - Credit: Ben Hardy

But the store is now fitted with an improved security alarm system and cameras.

There have also been some internal changes under the new ownership with a wall being knocked down at the front of the shop to free up more space for the Hermes parcel collection point.

Inside the newly reopened Hellesdon Convenience Store

Inside the newly reopened Hellesdon Convenience Store - Credit: Ben Hardy

Ms Janciziviene said: "A lot of people are coming in for parcels and find it easy to come here.

"We have also increased the amount of stock. We decided to stock Lithuanian crisps which we were not sure if people would like but they have been popular."

Lithuanian crisps are being stocked in the store 

Lithuanian crisps are being stocked in the store - Credit: Ben Hardy

Hellesdon Convenience Store is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.