April 14, 2021 3.21 pm This story is over 31 months old

Dismayed book shop owners suffer break-in one day after lockdown easing

The local community raised nearly £3k to help the owners

The owners of an independent book shop in Brigg were devastated to find their store had been broken into just a day after reopening under the current lockdown restrictions

Nick and Mel Webb own The Rabbit Hole in Market Place in Brigg and were able to reopen for the first time this year on Monday, April 12.

However, the elation of the first day back turned to shock when they turned up to find their shop window had been boarded up due to the break-in, which happened shortly after midnight on Tuesday, April 13.

Police said a window was smashed by two suspects who fled the scene with a number of items stolen from the shop, some of which were later recovered.

The main damage was to the window and glass was found shattered all over the floor. Two book cases, including one hand carved in solid oak and which had previously contained over 20 books, were taken.

The window was boarded up after it was smashed during a break in at The Rabbit Hole book shop in Brigg.

Repairs could cost thousands of pounds, but the exact figure is not yet known and the owners are liaising with their insurance company.

They are determined to bounce back and hope to reopen the shop by the end of the week.

They have also been overwhelmed by the support of the local community, and from regular customer Emma Rowson, who raised over £2,800 via a GoFundMe page.

The main damage was to the window, which was smashed and glass was shattered all over the front of the shop.

Nick told The Lincolnite: “It is devastating. We just spent two weeks trying to get it ready to reopen. We had the elation of opening on Monday and seeing such wonderful people come in.

“Then to arrive on Tuesday not knowing what had happened was a shocker. It was a roller coaster of emotions.

“In December, everyone was dreading a longer lockdown after Christmas and we were unsure if we’d survive it. We got a grant from the local authority but nothing beyond that.

“On Sunday evening (April 11) we had a nice feeling to be in a position to reopen then to come in Tuesday and to have to shut straight away again was pure frustration.

“The saddest thing was we had kids and families turning up yesterday (Tuesday) with book tokens for World Book Day and seeing the mess like that.

“It will be absolutely crucial to reopen again. We operate a very community based and welcoming environment and book shops are very special places.”

Nick and Mel spent a lot of time getting their business – The Rabbit Hole book shop – ready for reopening on April 12.

Nick and Mel worked in the education sector for a combined total of 45 years before deciding to open a book shop, which has been located in its current premises for around three years.

In response to Emma’s fundraising, Nick added: “We are gobsmacked and astounded by what Emma did and the support from the local community, as well as the Booksellers Association.

“She is amazing and we are very overwhelmed. It shows how tight knit the indie bookshop community is, they are a lovely group of people to be working with.”

Emma told The Lincolnite: “It’s been quite overwhelming to see the campaign take off as it has, but certainly on a local level the support is a reflection of the time and effort that Nick and Mel put in passionately encouraging young readers, supporting events within the book community and particularly in their work with schools.

“The last year has been filled with uncertainty for small, independent businesses and my aim was to simply raise enough to help them reopen as quickly as possible while showing them how much they mean to the local area. The level of support they have received from the book community has been astounding.”

Humberside Police said: “We are investigating a burglary at a book shop on the Market place in Brigg which happened shortly after midnight, Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

“A window was smashed by two suspects who fled from the scene with a number of items stolen from the shop. A number of these items were recovered a short time later.

“Anyone with information about this burglary should call our non-emergency number 101 quoting reference 16/39946/21.”