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GYM BREAK-IN: Gym owner thanks community as thieves found

GYM BREAK-IN: Gym owner thanks community as thieves found

Image from Northumbria Police

A business owner has thanked the local community and officers after his gym was burgled.

During the early hours of Sunday morning, Tempest Martial Arts in North Shields academy was ransacked by intruders. It was reported that offenders had smashed down the back door and made off with martial arts equipment, a music player, TV and even sports equipment which was purchased to donate to the North Shields Mini Rugby Team. They then fled, leaving the academy in a sorry state.

Owner Ricky Stafford, who started Tempest in 2015, says he was ‘left aggrieved’ by the break-in. He contacted police who set to work gathering forensic evidence and collecting CCTV. And when word of the break-in got out, his neighbours, members and friends rallied to support him and no stone was left un-turned in the hunt for CCTV.

 That police and community determination paid off and crucial footage was handed over to officers. Two men, aged 25 and 28, were arrested on suspicion of burglary and handling stolen goods, within 12 hours of Ricky’s report. Officers also searched three properties in the North Shields area and were able to retrieve a large quantity of the stolen goods.

 Grateful to his community and local police force, Ricky said: “Having your business broken into – especially working with the local community like we do – feels like a personal attack on myself and our members.

 “Luckily it is all material objects which can be replaced, however there are obvious costs to do this and repairs to be made.” He added: “As disappointing as the break in was, the reaction of the people of North Shields - and how much time and effort officers and neighbours put into making enquires and securing CCTV - has strengthened my faith in the community. I have been inundated with messages of support and offers of help – these only deepen my determination to continue empowering lives through Martial Arts.

 “Special thanks to those who really went above and beyond to help secure CCTV and to police for their swift action and support. I feel confident knowing the investigation is in their hands.”

 Neighbourhood Inspector Nicola Seymour added: “I know how a burglary can devastate a business in more ways than just financially. Our officers worked very hard with the community to secure CCTV footage and I am pleased this has resulted in two arrests. I’m also very pleased to hear that the effort by officers and locals has helped restore Ricky’s faith in the North Shields community.”

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