CRIMS REPEAT RETAIL TARGET

By CRAIG McTEAR

IT'S a sickening feeling when your personal space is invaded.

Just ask Coffs Harbour businessman Garth Morrison, who is fed up with criminals targeting his store.

In only a matter of months, bandits have twice forced their way into Morrisons Electrical Mega Store at Mastracolas Road, carrying off a total of $40,000 in merchandise and leaving behind a trail of destruction.

On each occasion ? two weeks before Christmas, and only two weeks ago ? they trashed display cases and stole digital cameras, video and still cameras, and MP3 players.

And only last week they had another go, but fled empty-handed when they couldn't get in.

Garth is now unhappily getting used to the early morning phone calls from his security company, not to mention the disruptions and the cost of replacing lost merchandise.

"It's not only the cost in stolen stock, but we had no video cameras, still cameras or MP3 players to sell two weeks before Christmas, which is the biggest thing," he said.

"It's getting to the stage where you almost expect a phone call at night. It doesn't have the same shock as the first time, but it's a situation that should never be."

Garth is, however, determined to fight back.

"We're going to have to get perimeter fencing to prevent access to vehicles around the back of the store, where they can hide at night, and increase security with camera locations and lighting," he said.

"We've got to take preventative action, which is particularly important for insurance premium purposes."

Garth says break-and-enters appear to be on the rise in Coffs Harbour, and he'd like police resources boosted to tackle it, particularly at the worst times of year for these crimes ? during Easter and Christmas.

"The police in Coffs Harbour are doing a very good job, but they can only do as much as the resources allocated by the State Government allow," he said.

In other news, thieves raided Urunga Mowers at the weekend. They forced the front roller door at the Marina Crescent business some time between 11am on Saturday and 7am yesterday and stole 13 chainsaws, worth more than $10,000.



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