'It's not the money' - Shop owner's frustration as thief pinches his EDPs
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
A couple having to inject £300 into their shop's coffers each week to stave off closure have said it's a "kick in the teeth" that a villager would steal EDP copies from outside their front door.
Postmaster duo Martin Deltrice, 55, and Adrienne Collard, 59, own and manage Saint Faiths Post Office & Stores in Horsham Saint Faith.
As a village staple for almost 50 years, Mr Deltrice said he "couldn't bear" to leave residents without their corner shop - but that people needed to respect staff and needed to buy more than just "a newspaper and a Mars bar" when they visited if they wanted it to stick around.
He said: "When restrictions began to ease the shop saw a dramatic drop in takings because people were going further afield and didn't need us.
"It has picked up a bit since, but recently we've got to a point where we're having to take about £300 from our other business just to prop up the Saint Faiths store.
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"On good weeks we'll just about break even, or maybe make a couple of quid."
According to Mr Deltrice, what had then really added salt to the wound was the theft of two EDP newspapers last week by a villager that he recognised and has "frequent conversations" with.
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He said: "It's not about the money whatsoever. It's just £3. It's the fact that we're having a rough enough time without someone literally helping themselves - someone we know and serve regularly."
Mr Deltrice said he had caught the culprit taking the papers from the returns pile outside the shop's front door on Saturday evening on CCTV.
Explaining why it was so hurtful and shocking, he went on: "It really took the wind out my sails because we knew who it was."
On the topic of helping the shop moving forward, he made a plea to his fellow villagers.
"Nobody's asking for people to do their weekly shop here, but a bit more support would be nice", he said.
"I think it if it was any old shop we'd have packed it in, but it's the village shop, and our house is attached to the back of it. We can't just leave - it's not that easy.
"The Post Office is fine. That pays for itself. But the shop is struggling."