Shopkeeper injured after robbery at Norwich store

A shopkeeper has been injured after attempting to stop two men stealing the till from a Norwich shop following a robbery.

Detectives investigating the raid at the Happy Shopper Waterloo Food and Wine shop, also known as Gerry's News, on Waterloo Road, off Magdalen Road, Norwich want to trace a man who visited the shop just after the robbery and who they believe might yet hold vital clues.

Two men entered the shop and stole the till at about 6.25am yesterday<thurs/20>. A shopkeeper tried to stop the pair leaving the shop with the till and sustained minor injurues as a result. The till was later discovered.

Detective Sergeant Andy Garner, of Norwich CID, said: 'We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area before or after the incident.

'We are particularly keen to speak to a man who visited the shop just after the robbery and who may have spotted either male in the area.'

The Evening News contacted the shop following the burglary but no-one was available to comment.

Figures released earlier this month as part of a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that shop raiders make off with goods worth almost �400,000 every day according to British retailers.

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The year-on-year-cost of thefts to high street stores across the UK has soared from �99m to �137m. The BRC says that items including TVs, computer games and clothing totalling �375,342 were stolen from shelves every day.

The survey also found that 18,000 staff up and down the country reported they were attacked or suffered verbal abuse.

Nigel Dowdney, who owns the Earlham Shopper in West Earlham and Stalham Shopper in Stalham and who is on the board of directors at the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), said he felt extremely sorry for those at the shop in Waterloo Road but added that it was a sign of the times.

He said: 'It's an awful thing to happen and I would like to convey my sympathies to them. Certainly from my own experience I've seen an increase in incidences of shoplifting over the past 12 months. It's been expected that obviously as times get harder then unfortunately we see an increase in crime. All of us as shopkeepers are trying to do as much as we can to prevent that, but unfortunately the more determined criminals get the harder it is for all of us.'

Mr Dowdney said the BRC survey helped highlight two national trends - an increase in shoplifting type crime on smaller, independent shops and a rise in violence and abuse towards shop staff.

He said: 'Smaller independent stores are perhaps more at risk than larger chains who can spend large amounts of money on equipment to try and deter shoplifters. Smaller shops are on the front line in our communities and unfortunately that means they are a tad exposed.'

? A 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old man have since been arrested in connection with the robbery. The two men, who are both from the local area, were at Bethel Street Police Station yesterday awaiting questioning.

? Anyone with information about the robbery should contact Det Sgt Garner on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

? Have you been a victim of burglary? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email