A THRIVING fishing tackle shop in a quiet rural location was robbed of most of its contents, valued at £25,000.

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The Tackle Shed, based in a shopping village in a converted water mill at Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire, was the only business targeted out of 22 retail units in the complex.

The burglars, who appear to be professional thieves with angling knowledge, removed all of the top-end fishing tackle, leaving behind less expensive brands.

The Tackle Shed owner Les Reed explained: “They broke in overnight, totally smashing the front door off its hinges, quickly grabbing the alarm system off the wall before throwing it into a pond opposite to silence it, and smashing all the CCTV cameras.

The fishing tackle shop door was thrown into a pond.

“The alarm was linked to a response system but because it only rang for 17 seconds the message didn’t get properly through to the alarm company which sadly didn’t respond.

“The shop was totally gutted with at least two-thirds of the contents gone and all the more expensive stuff taken, including rods, reels alarms, rod pods, umbrellas, clothing and luggage. Brands included Drennan, Korda, ESP, Gardner and Wychwood.

“The only things missing from anywhere else in the centre were two wheelie bins, so we reckon they loaded quite a bit of stuff into those as well as using our ruck-sacks to carry smaller items like terminal tackle.

“They clearly knew what they were looking for, stealing the pricey large tubs of wafters for example but leaving other boilies behind.

“The police reckon the thieves, who left no finger prints, probably parked their van on the main A6 Luton to Bedford road which passes very close to the mill.

“They believe that they may have had oversees connections, possibly Eastern European, and that it was likely the van could have been driven straight to Dover, for the stuff to be sold abroad.

“We would ask people to be on the look out for any more expensive items of tackle being offered for sale locally.

“My wife and I have been building the business up for six years, starting on a market stall before moving here four years ago.

“We had done better than I could have predicted with year-on-year growth of 25 per cent, but this is a tremendous blow,” Tackle Shed owner Les added.

UPDATE: the shop reopened and, with quick help from the trade, has been steadily restocked. Angler’s Mail wishes The Tackle Shed all the best for 2019.

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