Daily Mail picks up on our shoplifting story and brings crime in Chiswick to national attention

Image above: Security camera footage of shopkeeper tackling a suspected shoplifter; Daily Mail

‘Fortress Chiswick’

After our special report last week on the dramatic rise in shoplifting, theft and pickpocketing in Chiswick shops, the Daily Mail has picked up on the story.

In rather more florid language that we used, and picking up on several crime stories which have happened in the past few weeks, they headlined their piece:

‘ Fortress Chiswick: How affluent suburb that is home to rich and famous has fallen victim to terrifying crime wave which has seen Aled Jones threatened with machete, commuters mugged and boutique owners forced to lock their doors.’

Image above: Close up of the sign on Maverick & Wolf’s shopfront – which now has a locked door policy

Last week our reporter Matt Smith talked to shopkeepers in Chiswick High Rd, Devonshire Rd and Turnham Green Terrace and heard shocking accounts of the way they are constantly targeted by shoplifters – many repeat offenders whose faces they know.

The accounts are shocking both for the regularity of the thefts but also the brazenness of the thieves who know there is really nothing to stop them, as shopkeepers report they are getting no help from the police.

READ ALSO: Dramatic rise in shoplifting, theft and pickpocketing in Chiswick shops

Daily Mail journalist Paul Thompson wrote:

‘One of Britain’s most affluent suburbs, where houses sell for well over £1million, and is home to the rich and famous, is in the grip of a terrifying crimewave where people are mugged in broad daylight – and shoplifting is so common, boutiques have locked their doors while customers peruse the shelves.

‘Criminals are striking brazenly in Chiswick, the affluent leafy west London village, that is home to stars like David Tennant, Ant and Dec, Jeremy Vine and Clare Balding – with apparently little fear of being caught.’

Songs of Praise presenter Aled Jones was robbed in the street of his Rolex watch, worth £17,000, by a man with a machete.

READ ALSO: Aled Jones robbed of Rolex watch in Chiswick

Before the end of the school summer term there was also a spate of street robberies targeting school children and commuters:

READ ALSO: Spate of muggings and assaults targeting school students and residents in Chiswick

Image above: Natalie Everett outside of Womenswear shop Jigsaw

Police say “there’s nothing we can do”

Matt spoke to the managers of shops that have been targeted, some of which now operate a locked door policy, only letting a few customers in at a time. Krishna Ramji, general manager of the women’s clothes store Whistles told Matt:

“We had a lot of problems in the last month, especially the last couple of weeks have been quite bad”, Krishna said, “It’s something you can’t avoid. Being on the high street we don’t really have security… It’s increased a lot in the last month… when I say a lot, I would say three times a week.”

Natalie Everett, who manages womenswear shop Jigsaw told him:

“We had a really bad spell between maybe the beginning of the summer to the back end of January. I think worst thing for us is there was a group of thieves, who were clearly working together, who were targeting us loads. So much so that they would walk past the front of the shop, glare in and wave at us. They would come in sometimes and laugh in our faces.”

General Manager of Mint Velvet Sharon Powell told him a few weeks ago she had a whole rack of clothes taken.

“A guy ran in and grabbed a bunch of my dresses off the rail and just ran out of the shop, through the alleyway onto the common and then he’s gone. I reported it to the police and I reported it to my area manager, I put it on a log sheet. I get crime reference numbers but they say there’s nothing they can do.”

Matt spoke to more than 70 people working in the retail trade in Chiswick and they all told the same story.

Image above: Ruth Cadbury MP; photograph Anna Kunst

Ruth Cadbury MP to raise The Chiswick Calendar’s report with Metropolitan Police commander Sean Wilson

When we discussed our report with MP for Brentford & Isleworth Ruth Cadbury she said she would raised it with Sean Wilson, the tri-borough commander for the Metropolitan Police area which covers Hounslow, Ealing and Hillingdon boroughs.

Reading through Matt’s report she said:

“I am shocked by the level of it and the brazenness of the way they just walk into the shops. Shoplifting appears to be growing, which is unacceptable.

“That comes to the police. They have made commitments in ‘A New Met for London’. In my own crime survey I carried out with residents people said ‘the police should be there for us and follow up on crimes’ and we’re not seeing it at the moment.

“We’re not going to be able to address crime at this level unless we have an adequate police force.”

On the Daily Mail story she said it was “a bit embarrassing that we are deemed by the Mail to be a crime hot spot.”