The owner of a barber shop has shared his anguish and despair after his business was hit by rams on New Years Day.
Two men smashed through the glass doors of the Mark Mardell barber shop in Dartford’s Market Street on a moped.
The aftermath of the raid
The incident which was captured on CCTV inside the living room ended in a minute, but the cheeky thieves escaped with a transport of hairdryers, brooches and chopsticks.
Owner Mark Mardell said, “They seemed to know what they were looking for, they went straight to stock. Most of the items were GHD (Good Hair Days) clothing, an exceptionally popular brand.”
Mr Mardell said that a rough estimate he believed around Â£ 3,500 of equipment had been stolen, but the cost to his business is much higher.
He said: “I had to barricade the entrance afterwards because the doors and the frames were damaged.
“I expect replacing them will cost just as much.”
In addition, as there is currently no access for customers to the store, he had to cancel customer appointments and expects the salon to remain closed for the next few days until the repairs are completed.
He said: “Even contacting the insurance company has been difficult due to the holidays, let alone finding a contractor.”
Mr Mardell said: “It is so upsetting, especially at the end of what has already been a very frustrating year thanks to Covid.”
The raid took place at 5 p.m. and a customer walking past the damaged store called Mr Mardell to tell him at 5:11 p.m. but when he called the police, the incident had already been reported to them by several members of the public.
He said: “I walked in from my home in Cobham, near Gravesend, as soon as I heard. And all of my staff also came to help when they heard.”
“Of course there was not much we could do, but it was nice to have their support.”
The company employs five people.
In the video of the incident, the moped driver after having smashed the doors, leaves by car and waits in the street for his accomplice. He can be seen waving his finger at someone further down the road.
Mr Mardell said: âI understand it was a lady with children who challenged him and maybe also filmed it on her phone.
“I haven’t spoken to her yet, I hope she will contact me.”
Mr Mardell’s video also clearly reveals the license plate of the machine the thieves were driving, but it turns out to be a fake license plate, actually belonging to a Honda motorcycle.
Mr Mardell admitted to being “really shaken up” by the incident and said: “I have even found myself crying for no reason at strange times since.”
But he said he was reassured by the overwhelmingly positive reaction he received on Facebook and social media.
He said: “The messages of support have been fantastic. It just shows that there are a lot of good people.”
He said: “I have been in business there for 10 years, but have been a hairdresser in Dartford for 32 years.”
He said: “I’m the third generation of hairdressers – the salon was started by my grandfather in 1932, so I don’t think a little thing like this is going to stop us.”
Police would like to hear from any witnesses to the raid or any drivers passing the scene who may have daschcam footage that could prove useful in catching thieves.
A police spokesperson said: “Anyone with information that can assist the investigation is encouraged to contact Kent Police on 01474 366149 citing reference 46/603/22.”