A pet shop owner feels like he has been ‘punched in the stomach’ after burglars stole £15,000 worth of stock threatening the future of the business and the livelihoods of his employees.

Dave Clark, who runs Contact Pets at The Parade in Blacon with partner Sarah, feels sick because the shop was not fully covered when raiders broke in over the weekend as he was in the process of saving the £1,000 needed to pay for a new alarm as demanded by the insurance company plus a new CCTV box.

What makes it worse it that he suspects someone local, even a former customer, could be behind the burglary because it appears they knew exactly what they were looking for with thousands of pounds worth of fishing tackle taken along reptile-associated items but fortunately no animals.

Burglary victim Contact Pets at The Parade in Blacon which has just had a new shop front fitted along with other stores
Burglary victim Contact Pets at The Parade in Blacon which has just had a new shop front fitted along with other stores

Father of five Dave, who lives in Blacon with partner Sarah Williams, hopes the community can support the shop with their custom and provide the police with information that may lead to the culprits being caught.

He said: “I’m absolutely devastated, as I know all our staff are. We employ eight local people and obviously we can’t guarantee we’re going to be able to come back from this. It’s such a lot of money. Unfortunately some of the stock hadn’t even been paid for.”

Dave and Sarah have recently ‘put every penny’ and all their time, into opening a second shop at Deeside. They say the business is competitively priced but above all they take most pride from providing ongoing customer service.

Dave added: “The thing is to use your local shop. Don’t go to the big chains, support your local shop. That’s what makes the business work and thrive. Be there for us like we try and be there for you guys and hopefully we’ll get through this. If anyone has any information at all about who has done this to us, if they could contact the police on 101.

Video thumbnail, Owner Dave Clark talks about burglary at Contact Pets in Blacon
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“I’m sure they could do that anonymously, and we can maybe just try and get some of the stuff back. I just can’t believe how much they’ve taken. They’ve taken a van load,” added Dave, who is grateful to his ‘brilliant’ team for their support and the many comments from well-wishers in person and on social media.

His postings on sites like Facebook had been viewed about 10,000 times and had ‘gone viral’.

Someone has even set up a Just Giving page although Dave isn’t so comfortable with this idea despite the good intentions.

“I don’t feel comfortable taking cash off people for a business. If I was running a charity it would be different. I don’t feel it’s morally right,” said the owner who has been running the business for 16 years and with full insurance cover during the whole of that period until six weeks ago and no previous break-ins.

Crime scene investigators have carried out a forensic examination of the shop. But there may be clues as to the identity of the offender or offenders judging by some of the products taken, which could be for personal use, such as Caesar dog food and items associated with looking after a reptile including tank decorations and the Repton vitamin supplement.

Cheshire Police ask anyone with information to quote incident number 211 of July 20, 2015, when ringing 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.