A CHERITON baker says he hopes police find the "scum" who stole cash from the shop he has worked at for over 50 years.
David Wright, who has owned Elizabeth's Bakery on Cheriton High Street for 27 years, said he was left in a state of shock when a man took more than £120 from the till on Friday afternoon.
The suspect went into the shop just before 1pm and asked a member of staff if any keys had been handed in. When she left the shop floor to enquire, the money was snatched and the man ran off.
Mr Wright said: "We were caught out, and we have just got to watch out from now on.
"Unless the police come up with something, I can't see anything coming of it. Unless there are any witnesses, it's just going to be another one of those statistics. I suspect it's probably drink and drug-related. He's just scum. When you look down the High Street, you have got shops with alcohol licences up and down the street.
"Being on the High Street so long, I've seen the changes."
The 66-year-old said the shop had never been targeted before, and that he hoped it was a "one-off".
He added: "Money is hard to come by these days, and all that was hard-earned cash. I was in the back of the shop, and I just didn't act quickly enough. We looked round after it happened, and we looked at the drinks fridge and the other usual places thinking he might have stolen a few things.
"It wasn't until the next customer came in that we realised the cash had gone missing."
A proportion of the morning's takings had already been taken upstairs by the owner to count, and manager Shirley Harrison said things could have been worse.
The 64-year-old added: "It's just one of those things, I suppose. We've been reasonably lucky up until now. There have been a few things up and down the High Street, but this is the first time anything has been taken from us. The police were very good, I have to say. You hear these things all the time and they seem to be happening more and more than they used to. I've been doing this for 20 years, and it does seem to be more prevalent. It will have to be reviewed now – I mean, the shop can't be left any more."
The suspect is a white male, aged 30 to 40, of broad build, 5ft 9in, and was wearing an anorak.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Constable Benjamin Howard on 101, quoting crime reference ZY/3172/13, or 0800 555111.