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Divis gang in late night ram-raid robbery at Belfast clothing store

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Police attend the scene of a ram raid in SD Kells at Bedford Street in Belfast on April 3rd 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Police attend the scene of a ram raid in SD Kells at Bedford Street in Belfast on April 3rd 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Police attend the scene of a ram raid in SD Kells at Bedford Street in Belfast on April 3rd 2020 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)

A ram-raid robbery at a high-end Belfast clothes store was carried out by a crime gang from the Divis area of west Belfast.

The smash and grab was caught on camera by tailor Chris Suitor, who runs a menswear shop close to SD Kells on Bedford Street.

In footage posted online he voiced his disgust at the robbery and urged anyone with information to contact police.

Because of the coronavirus crisis dozens of stores in cities and towns across Northern Ireland are lying empty and vulnerable.

Most have removed all cash from the premises in an effort to discourage being targeted by burglars.

Knowing this, the gang that targeted SD Kells drove a stolen Vauxhall Corsa into the shop front, smashing the window and filling the boot with expensive suits.

But in the thieves’ hurry to escape, most of the clothing fell from the back of the car onto the road. The vehicle, which had been stolen in Newtownabbey on Friday, was later found abandoned at St Peter’s Square in the Divis area.

Stanley McIlwaine, owner of SD Kells, drove from Co Fermanagh to Belfast to assess the damage after being contacted by police.

The double glass doors alone will cost in the region of £10,000 to replace and it is not yet known the extent of any other damage caused to the framework and shopfront windows.

Mr McIlwaine said: “We have closed all of our shops in Northern Ireland because of the coronavirus and this attack is another serious blow to the business and to our staff.”

PSNI Detective Inspector Andy George appealed for information, saying: “We received a report around 1am that a Vauxhall Corsa had reversed into the front door of the shop causing the window to shatter.

“A number of suspects then removed items of clothing from the store placing them in the boot of the car. Some of the clothes were recovered after they fell out of the vehicle as the thieves made their escape.”


Belfast Telegraph