'Heartbroken' Edinburgh shop owner who helped vulnerable during lockdown 'wants to give up' after thieves ransacked store

A Drylaw shop owner who helped hundreds of elderly people during the pandemic has been left “heartbroken” and “wanting to give up” after thieves stole thousands of pounds worth of goods from his family store.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 6:51 pm
This convenience store in Drylaw had been described as a 'lifeline' since the first lockdown, giving away parcels for the elderly for free (image Zahid Iqbal of Day-Today).

Two thieves, who are believed to be male, broke into the Day-Today store on Easter Drylaw Place at around midnight on Monday, April 5.

Having been ransacked of around £22,000 worth of goods, and incurred damage that will cost another £9,000 to fix, “heartbroken” owner Zahid Iqbal, 35, says he does not know if his business can survive.

Speaking to the Evening News, Mr Iqbal said the ordeal has left him considering closing the shop for good.

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The two thieves captured on CCTV camera (Photo: Zahid Iqbal).

He said: “It’s a family business and basically this has broken my heart. I just want to give up. This is the first time I’ve experienced this and it’s a really horrible thing to go through.

"The way it has affected mentally and emotionally that’s when I feel I don’t want to keep the business - I just want to get out.”

"It has affected us financially as well - we are just a corner shop.”

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WATCH: Moment thieves snatch thousands of pounds worth of goods in Drylaw store ...
Damage caused to the store's shutter when the thieves forced entry (Photo: Zahid Iqbal).

The masked pair stole around £10,000 worth of cigarettes, £5,000 worth of alcohol and around £6,000 worth of cash and £1,000 worth of scratch cards.

The shop’s shutter was damaged which Mr Iqbal believes will cost him £1,500 to install a new one.

His smashed front door will cost him £500 pounds to repair and the damage to the scanning systems will cost around £5,000.

The thieves, whose actions were captured on camera, also damaged the office PC worth £1,000 and the CCTV system worth £3,000.

Shop owner Mr Iqbal made headlines last year after handing out hundreds of coronavirus ‘survival’ packs to elderly people in the community at the beginning of the pandemic as well as food parcels for those in need.

Speaking about how important his business is to him, Mr Iqbal said: "Over the past year, I’ve not even thought about making money it’s just been really about serving the community.

"When I took the store on around 10 years ago it was run down and then I took it on from my family friend and it’s my baby, that’s what it was.

"I put everything in it. In the pandemic, we spent all of our savings towards projects like the survival packs and then food bags helping anyone who’s struggling with furlough and their jobs.”

"It’s not really a business for me, it’s about looking out for each other.”

Talking about whether he would encourage people to come to his store and buy local, Mr Iqbal said: “That would be very nice and I’m sure they will do - it’s a lovely community.”

Mr Iqbal revealed that his insurance did not cover the stolen cash or electrical items that were on the premises and says he has applied for a loan to help make ends meet.

He hopes members of the public come forward to assist with police inquiries and identify the culprits.

The 35-year-old business owner said: "I really do hope these guys get caught.

"I know I’m not going to get my money back but at least if they do get caught it saves someone else from what we suffered.”

Police inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is being urged to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting Incident number: 0436 of April 6.

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