Northampton shop owner warns fellow businesses: 'watch out for these distraction thieves'

Megan Eyles outside Peppertrees in the Ridings Arcade.

Megan Eyles outside Peppertrees in the Ridings Arcade.

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A Northampton business owner whose shop was hit by the same brazen shoplifters twice in 24 hours posted pictures of the suspected culprits on Facebook in a bid to catch them.

Megan Eyles, who runs Peppertrees gift shop in the Ridings Arcade, said the two men took a day's worth of takings in the two distraction thefts on Good Friday at 3.30pm and the following day at 2.20pm.

This man is believed to have loaded expensive candles into a rucksack at Peppertrees.

This man is believed to have loaded expensive candles into a rucksack at Peppertrees.

Security camera footage shows that on both occasions a man in a white baseball cap stood in the eye-line of the shop assistant, while a second man crouched on the floor to steal goods.

On the Saturday a customer confronted the second man as he loaded his rucksack with expensive candles. He made for the door when the customer raised the alarm however.

Having realised the men had taken around £300 worth of stock, Miss Eyles posted pictures of the suspected culprits at around 5pm. In just a few days the post that has already been shared close to 500 times.

In it Miss Eyles wrote: "Most of our customers are genuine and lovely people.

"However these three people (referring to the CCTV images) have stolen 15 candles from us in the space of 24 hours.

"If anyone recognises them please send me a message so we can pass on information to the police and help stop it happening in other small businesses."

Miss Eyles' shop is just yards away from the now closed Mace newsagents in St Giles Street, which owner Andrew Cruden decided to shut last week due to the sheer number of times he was hit by shoplifters.

Miss Eyles, who is a relatively young business owner at 23, feels more needs to be done to help retailers in the town combat the shop thieves.

"It's not just me, everyone down here has been done," she said. "We are all independent shops.

"This sort of thing is really annoying, it's £300 a the end of the day - that's a day's takings."

However she said she has been pleased with the response to the thefts on social media.

Among the 500 shares people have been in touch with her from America to voice their sympathy and the post has gained 100 more "likes" on her shop's Facebook page.

"If there is a silver lining to this whole thing, that's it," she added.