Residents of a Newmarket estate have rallied round to help a couple whose shop was smashed up by raiders.
Suresh Sabaratnan and his wife, Rashmi, came under attack from raiders at their convenience store in Brickfields Avenue on Studlands Park in the early hours of Tuesday March 22.
Although Mr Sabaratnan managed to hold the attackers at bay, the shop was badly damaged by bricks and a metal sign and bin which were hurled through the front window. He was injured and had to be taken to hospital.
When news of the attack spread across the estate, local councillors Michael Anderson and David Wright called on Studlands residents to help the shop owners get back on their feet.
And their call was answered. On Friday a large group of volunteers turned out to clean the shattered glass and other debris from the inside of the shop. They also helped to paint the outside.
“The shop owners had not found it easy after the break in,” said Cllr Anderson, “and I thought it would be a good idea to make them feel part of our community and wish them well.
“The paint and cleaning products were all donated by the residents. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone that gave up their morning to help out. The community spirit was great to see,” he added.
Mrs Sabaratnan said she was overwhelmed by the residents’ response to their plight, much of which was through comments made on the estate’s social media site. “Their reaction has been fantastic,” she said. “At least the community is with us and their actions and all their kind words really mean a lot.”
Mr Sabaratnan, who is still recovering from his injuries, said he had found himself under siege by the shop’s attackers for nearly 35 minutes. He had been alerted when he heard noises coming from the front of the shop at around 2.50am as he was dealing with a delivery.
Two men, with their faces covered, then tried to smash their way into the store, which the couple have run for the past five years. Mrs Sabaratnan said armed police had
attended pursuing the suspects as they ran off into the estate.
“It was a very frightening experience, but I knew I had to try and keep them out of the shop,” said Mr Sabaratnan. “Now we have to try and get back on our feet again. We are very grateful to the community and hope residents will continue to support us.”
* An 18-year-old man from Newmarket has been arrested and questioned in connection with the incident. He has been bailed by police until May 9.
Caption: MNJP-25-03-16 GP 001