Belfast Telegraph

Shopkeeper dies after Customs raid on premises

By Donna Deeney

He was a popular shopkeeper, one of those well-known characters who had been behind his counter for decades.

But just hours after an HM Revenue and Customs raid on the premises, Dan Doran (63) was dead.

Yesterday the shutters were down on Mr Doran's shop with a simple note saying ‘Closed due to bereavement' fastened beside floral tributes left by local residents.

A quantity of cigarettes, three kilos of tobacco and Mr Doran's car had been seized on Wednesday morning from the shop, which is located on Londonderry’s Strabane Old Road.

“He was definitely a character,” his brother Mannix said yesterday from the Waterside home they shared with his elderly mother Margaret and sister Kathleen.

“Dan was one of those people you couldn't imagine not being there, so it is hard to take in that he isn’t going to be with us any more. Although he did have heart problems, we weren't expecting anything like this.

“He was closing up the shop and our nephew was there with him when he just suddenly fell.

“The ambulance was called but it was no good — he was dead by the time they arrived.

“Everybody knew Dan and it seemed he could name the entire country, the Waterside has lost one of life's characters for sure.”

One of a family of 14, Dan took over the Top of the Hill shop from his father 20 years ago.

“I think that one of the things that brought people into the shop was that fact it hadn’t changed since then,” said Mannix.

“It had that old-fashioned charm and people knew they wouldn’t be rushed.

“Most of those |who came in were there for the craic, not necessarily to buy anything.

“He trusted people and if someone said they needed something but they would have no money until the end of the week, he gave them what they needed and trusted them to pay when they could.”

A spokeswoman for Revenue and Customs said the case had been referred to the Police Ombudsman’s office.

“We will not be making a comment at this stage,” she said.

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