Trader loses entire stock in shop raid

Zafran Liaqat, outside his brother’s shop Fone Bits, James Street, after it was broken into and goods were taken

Zafran Liaqat, outside his brother’s shop Fone Bits, James Street, after it was broken into and goods were taken

First published in North of England news Asian Image: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter

A city centre trader has lost all his stock after raiders forced open his shop shutters and smashed the front door.

Burglars struck at the Fone Bits mobile phone shop, in James Street, Bradford, overnight on Friday, and took about 150 handsets, worth about £15,000.

Shop owner Abdul Rehman was too distressed to talk about the theft.

But his brother, Zafran Liaqat, said he had been cleaned out.

He said: “My brother is distraught. He cannot run his business because he has no stock left.

“The metal security shutter had been forced up and someone had got inside, smashed the glass in the door and took all the phones.”

Mr Liaqat, who runs a mobile phone accessory wholesale business, said his warehouse, on an industrial estate in the city, had been broken into three weeks ago and phones, computers, and £7,000 cash were stolen.

Mr Liaqat said when police arrived at the James Street shop yesterday he sent them away because he claimed it was a waste of time dealing with the police. But other traders in the area disagreed.

Amanda Ryan, manager of the Cash for Gold shop, in James Street, which is owned by TV antique dealer Tim Hogarth, praised police.

Earlier this year, the shop’s metal shutters were prised open and the front window smashed by an intruder who stole jewellery, including a 14-carat gold ring with diamonds, worth several hundred pounds, and a £725 pair of diamond ear rings.

Miss Ryan, who reported to Fone Bits break-in to police, said: “We do not share Mr Liaqat’s concerns. There is CCTV on the street and I can’t understand why he would not get the police involved.

“When we were burgled the police were here within an hour, they did all the forensics, and they even gave me a lift home to make sure I was safe.

“They kept us updated and were really good. They keep popping in to the shop and they are there for us.”

Police confirmed they were called to reports of a Burglary at a store on James Street in the centre of Bradford.

A police spokesman said an officer attended and spoke to the owner, but they declined to make a complaint or allow access for forensic examinations to take place.

The spokesman said the incident would be investigated regardless and CCTV inquiries were ongoing.

Inspector Vicky Lawrance, of the City Ward Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Offences of burglary remain an absolute priority to the police and we will fully investigate any incident reported to us. All evidence is rigorously pursued and information analysed in order to bring those responsible to justice.

“We work with local traders on a daily basis, particularly through City Centre Beat which is continuing to increase in members. This is one avenue which enables us to offer security advice to businesses and retailers.

“Burglary offences in the city centre, which include attacks on commercial premises, have reduced by a quarter between April and October, compared to the same period last year.

“Proactive operations continue to take place to identify offenders and we are focusing our resources, deploying Neighbourhood Officers in the right places at the right times.”

Witnesses, or anyone with information, should contact Bradford South CID on the non emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.

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