Cowbit villagers are backing a £3,000 campaign to secure their only shop with metal shutters after it was targeted in a smash and grab raid.
By lunchtime today (Wednesday) more than £600 had been donated by 33 people on a gofundme page launched on Monday by Charlotte Hattrell.
Charlotte wrote: “As you are all aware our lovely village store was broken into yesterday. Thankfully Colin and his lovely ladies are all ok.
“Colin and his team work relentlessly to provide us all with a welcoming village store and nothing is too much trouble for them.
“As a community we can help raise the funds to purchase metal shutters to help secure our little store and keep its premises and staff safe from mindless individuals.”
The shop was closed when alarms were triggered on Sunday evening.
Shopkeeper Colin Foxwell said: “As soon as the alarm goes, I get a phone call. I got a phone call around 8pm and rushed down there and the police were already there.”
Raiders got in by smashing a window and made off with cigarettes and alcohol worth around £1,000.
Colin has been running the shop for nearly five years and it’s the first break-in since he took over.
He says he “had a few break-ins” at his former premises in Woodford Green but the community reaction to Sunday’s raid – and the launch of the shutters appeal – has left him amazed.
Colin said: “I am flabbergasted. I have never known a community like it to do something like this.
“I am overwhelmed by the support I am getting from them.”
Customers visiting the shop have been expressing support for Colin and his four staff and those donating to the gofundme page have left messages too.
One message says: “Keep your spirits up Colin and team ... you are hugely valued by so many.”
County councillor Richard Fairman told us: “I am a regular in that shop. They are absolutely super people and I enjoy going in there.”
He would like to think metal shutters weren’t necessary but fears they might be in this day and age to prevent further crimes.
Coun Fairman said: “I am very disappointed that the break-in has happened on our patch, especially so close to my back door, so to speak.
To donate to the metal shutters campaign, visit www.gofundme.com/secure-our-village-store
Police have appealed for anyone who saw suspicious activity in Cowbit to call them on 101, quoting incident 387 of February 19.
• What do you think of the community support shown to Colin and his team? Email firstname.lastname@example.org