Lancashire dealer fears for future after stealing spate

Blackburn-based A to Z Catering Equipment has suffered a spate of thefts.

A to Z Catering Equipment in Blackburn has been broken into three times in the last 4 weeks, according to a report from the ‘This is Lancashire’ website.

The dealer’s owner, Salim Ridha, who has run the company from 19 years, said he is now concerned over his company’s future.

The thieves were caught on CCTV on 18 June trying to steal catering equipment parts. This followed the theft of a Union flag and an English flag from the entrance of the premises last month. After being replaced, the flags were stolen again last week.

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Ridha reported that scaffolding was stolen and damage was caused to his stock.

He told ‘This is Lancashire’: “It’s so frustrating how people can just think they can break into someone else’s business and steal things.

“They cut the barbed wire in the far corner and made their way in.

“They started breaking things up and trying to get to the components inside the refrigerators; they even found a trolley and tried to load things onto it.

“I’m terribly concerned it’s going to happen again. If it does and lots of things are taken we’d have to think about closing down, I’m worried about what might happen next.”

A to Z Catering Equipment has unfortunately been victim to a serious break-in before this latest spate. In 2011, Ridha, along with manager Mahmoud Hawa and employee Azad Khader-Poor, were robbed at knifepoint while they were locking up for the day.

The staff were ordered to lie on the floor as the men grabbed thousands of pounds in takings. The gang escaped but the workers gave chase, brandishing kebab skewers.

At the time police said they believed the raid was a ‘planned attack’.

Ridha added: “We’re not sure how much the damage and thefts would have cost, but it’s beside the point, this sort of thing shouldn’t be happening.

“We have lots of CCTV cameras and we hope the police can find them and they can be brought to justice.”

A police spokesman said no arrests had yet been made.

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