Two arrests after attempted break-in at St Ippolyts Stores near Hitchin

St Ippolyts Stores. Picture: Google Street View

St Ippolyts Stores. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

A village shopkeeper says she is “shaken” after thieves tried to break into her store near Hitchin at the weekend.

Police are investigating an attempted burglary at St Ippolyts Stores, on the corner of Waterdell Lane, at around 3.10am in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Burglars tried to force open the back door, but didn’t manage to get in.

Heather Marriott – who has run the business since June 2016 – scared the crooks off by shouting out of the window.

She said that the would-be intruders were “seconds” from getting into the shop.

Nothing was stolen, but the back door was damaged and Heather says she is “a bit shaken up.”

She told the Comet that the back door is being fully secured again, and added: “It’s nerve-wracking.

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“I couldn’t get back to sleep.”

There was also a robbery at the shop last October – but Heather is determined not to be held back by crime.

She said: “It’s my business, I ain’t going anywhere. No way they would deter me from anything.”

The attempt follows a spate of burglaries that has beset Hitchin and the surrounding villages in the last week.

Eight home burglaries took place within 12 hours last Tuesday, followed by another two the next day and more through the week.

Police have arrested two men from Stevenage following the attempted break-in at St Ippolyts Stores.

One, a 20-year-old, was arrested on suspicion of going equipped for burglary. The second, aged 22, was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, disqualified driving, going equipped, and taking a vehicle without the owner’s consent.

A police spokeswoman said they were arrested just over an hour after the attempted break-in, when “stopped a van in Stevenage which matched the description of a van seen near the store”. She added that the force was “not aware of any links to other crimes at this time”.

There has also been an arrest in relation to an incident in Ickleford’s Arlesey Road on Thursday.

Paul Bliss, 41, of no fixed address, has been charged with theft of mail and attempting to trespass. Police said this was unrelated to the series of burglaries.

The Comet has asked police how they are countering this spate of burglaries.

If you have any information that could help police, call 101.