Belfast Telegraph

Watch: CCTV footage of raid on Northern Ireland barbers

Barber calls on thieves who raided his shop to 'make better choices'

By Leona O'Neill

A Londonderry businessman said he hopes the people who robbed his newly opened barber shop learn to make better choices and "turn their lives around".

Greg McNeil (30), owner of Bareknuckle Barbers in the Northside Shopping Centre, was speaking after thieves caused hundreds of pounds in damage to his store as well as raiding a teddy bear machine and stealing drugs from a chemist.

"They came on Tuesday night, burst in through the back doors and raided the shop," he said.

"They smashed open the tips jars and took all the money and the float out of the till. Luckily we had all the money taken out of the till.

"They put their shoulder through the front door and went into the main shopping centre where they smashed their way into the teddy bear game machine, which has teddy bears with notes wrapped around them. They actually emptied our bin on the floor and used the bin liner to put all the teddies in, like a Santa sack. And then they went into the chemist and got drugs.

"It will cost me hundreds of pounds to repair the damage to my shop. It could have been a lot worse, they could have destroyed the shop and people wouldn't have been able to work again.

"This is a real community-orientated area, I wasn't expecting something like this to happen. It's hard enough to run a business. I don't come from a background of money. I have worked hard to get where I am; for someone to come in and do something like this, they could have made things a struggle for me. It is really disheartening.

"The main things for me were the guys' tools and the big motorbike I have in the window. It was really expensive. But without the tools the guys would not be able to work, we can't put food on the table.

"I chose to graft and provide for my family. I have made sacrifices and choices. I hope that the people who did this will make better choices in the future. It's never too late to change."

Police say they are investigating the report of burglaries at two premises in the Northside Shopping Centre.

"The two premises, a chemist and a barber shop, were entered between Monday night and 7.30am on Wednesday. A quantity of prescription drugs were taken from the pharmacy and a small sum of money from the barber shop.

"Police are appealing for anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity in the area to contact police at Strand Road."

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