INTERVIEW:Theft victim seeks cash-for-gold ad ban

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Robbers burst into Alankar Jewellers on the Golden Mile yesterday.

Daylight robbery occurred when masked men burst into Alankar Jewellers on Belgrave Road, popularly known as Leicestershire’s Golden Mile. Alankar Jewellers director Bihesh Pala speaks out over the incident, claiming cash for gold ads were to blame for the robbery.

The incident took place at 12.30pm when masked men stormed into the shop, breaking through the glass of the front door with a stone brick.

"There were three to four of them,” Pala says. “We have a recording, but I don’t know if they can be identified because they were wearing masks.

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“Five customers were in the store at the time, four adults and a child. They escaped through the back office exit with three members of family from the store.”

The shop was utterly wrecked, with items scattered everywhere and cabinets smashed. Pala remains unsure how much jewellery was stolen and it could take some time to complete a full inventory.

“Last night we hardly slept – it was all just flicking through,” he says. “It was a nightmare. They had some kind of weapon. We couldn’t see what it was, but they used it to smash inside all of the showcases.”

“I don’t know how long it is going to take to clear up – days. We are still in shock. The customers are still in shock. Thankfully no-one was hurt. We’re trying to get the shop fitting sorted out. We only want to re-open when we know that it is secure and safe for the customers.”

Pala believes the cash-for-gold advertisements now regularly showing on TV are largely responsible for the recent, apparent increase in jeweller burglaries. According to the director, these adverts should be banned.

“It is a growing problem,” he says. “I think what is escalating is the advertising for buying gold jewellery on TV and radio – it is inviting criminals to join the wagon. I think it should be banned. They are treating it like buying groceries. It’s not helping the police or jewellers.”

Pala and his family have owned the premises on Belgrave Street for 38 years. They were robbed once before, over a decade ago, but Pala claims that theft was not nearly as extreme, with little being taken.

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