Burglars smash their way into Belsize Park shops
Police investigate break-ins at Hauck hair salon and Chamomile cafe
12 April, 2019 — By Samantha Booth
Lisa Meyer and Amit Shah
BURGLARS have targeted shops in Belsize Park over the past week, smashing windows and rifling for valuables.
Staff at Lisa Hauck Hair and Beauty, in Haverstock Hill, and Chamomile Café, in Englands Lane arrived to find their front door windows smashed in on Friday morning.
CCTV at Chamomile showed a person who was in the premises for an hour before making off with the cash float of about £250.
Irit Reed, who has owned the independent café for two years with her husband David, said: “They had been through the whole café, absolutely everything and opened drawers. It’s the audacity of staying here for all that time.”
She added: “In an economy where there is no consumer confidence and every business is impacted, you don’t need extra problems to deal with.”
At the nearby salon, Lisa Meyer said the burglar had smashed the bottom door window before getting in and rooting around. Thankfully, nothing of value was taken.
“The impact on businesses is big,” she said. “It’s the intrusion and I imagined the worst, that I will have to close the shop and lose income. We told the first clients we had that day that they couldn’t touch anything because of forensics so they had to wear gloves.”
Bizarrely, in both break-ins, the assailant appears to have grabbed bottles of syrup used for hot drinks which had then been abandoned, leaving shop owners wondering if they’d thought it was alcohol.
Anne-Lise Miller, who owns the Whole Health Centre on Haverstock Hill, was broken into on Wednesday last week. She said nothing of value is left on the premises overnight so they didn’t manage to take anything.
Two other premises in Englands Lane are also thought to have been broken into during the week.
Amit Shah, chairman of Steele’s Village Residents Association, said he had been aware of an increase in residential burglaries in the area over the past year but that business break-ins were more recent.
At a safer neighbourhood team meeting at Haverstock School on Tuesday night, Mr Shah said police would be looking to support the residents in whatever way they can.
He said police would patrol the area further. “They are very supportive and they are trying to investigate with the forensics then go from there,” said Mr Shah.
Police say they are aware of five separate burglaries or attempted burglaries at commercial premises in the roads between April 3 and 5.
A spokesman said: “On two occasions items, including cash, were stolen from the premises. Enquiries continue to establish if the incidents are linked. All the owners affected have been offered crime prevention advice.”
Chief Superintendent Raj Kohli told the Camden Safer Neighbourhood Board meeting last month that “burglary is a challenge”. He was being questioned by a resident on domestic burglary statistics and added: “Burglary is the most pervasive crime, residential burglary, I can’t think of many things worse than someone in your house. We need to correct it and I will be correcting that.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact officers at the Belsize Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.