Wigan furniture business considers closure after multiple break-ins

Express Furniture in Caroline Street
Express Furniture in Caroline Street

The devastated owners of a Wigan business which has been burgled “hundreds of times” are considering moving from their site of 14 years after thieves trashed their shop twice this weekend, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Liz Connelly and Vicki Maclugash of Express Furniture on Caroline Street, are heartbroken after thieves plundered their stock twice in three days.

The scene after the raid

The scene after the raid

The sisters, who have been at the Wigan site for the past 14 years, said that they have been targeted hundreds of times over the past decade, causing them to pay thousands from their own pocket to replace stock and repair damage.

Liz, 46, said that they are taking it in turns to sleep overnight at the property as they cannot afford to keep replacing the security systems destroyed in previous raids.

“They have completed devastated the shop,” she said. “We are still going through it all trying to piece together what has gone.

“It’s like the purge - every night after the sun goes down.”

Damage after the raid

Damage after the raid

The first of the weekend’s burglaries took place on Friday. At around 3.40am the sisters were alerted to the alarm going off at the shop.

When they arrived just 10 minutes later, they found a “trail of destruction” leading from the shop down the street.

“There are six foot mirrors which have been taken and dropped and smashed all up the street,” she said.

“They had smashed through the front door and had left stuff all piled up and hidden outside the building obviously thinking they could come back.

“We barricaded the doors up but then at 7.30 on Sunday morning the alarm went off again.

“This time they went the same way, we had piled stuff up all behind the door. They used a pickaxe to get through the barricade.

“I had been awake all night, I couldn’t get to sleep because you just worry all the time.

“The sun was just coming up and I was finally going to sleep when we got the call.

“It’s all getting too much. Me and Vicki were born into this trade. Retail is hard enough as it is. We don’t turn up and get a wage, everything inside the shop, every single candlestick, piece of furniture, light bulb, everything we personally pay for - it comes from our wage.

“We decide if we will get paid or if we will get extra shutters on the door.

“We have been here for over 14 years and today is the first time ever I have not wanted to come into work.”

The sisters, who used to own shops in Southport, Bolton and Manchester, made the decision to keep their Wigan store open when their recession hit, despite closing their other premises.

“We love Wigan,” added an emotional Liz. “You cannot find a nicer bunch of people.

“A lot of our customers we consider friends, they come in to see us for a chat, pop in for a brew.

“But we simply cannot afford to stay here any longer if this continues.”