A COUNCILLOR has said that more needs to be done to protect high-values shops in Festival Place after a jewellery store was broken into last night.

As previously reported, Beaverbrooks was broken into last night - with three men from Southampton being arrested under suspicion of burglary.

Sledgehammers and a battering ram was used to try and force entry to the store, via the window which had several holes in this morning.

It's not the first time the store has been targeted - the Gazette previously reported on two other break-ins in the last four years.

This has prompted Councillor Gavin James, whose Eastrop ward covers Festival Place, to say that the situation needs to be “looked at”.

“It is a shocking incident. I am not quite sure how they managed to get in there with heavy tools to carry out the act," he told the Gazette. "Hopefully they will be captured.”

Festival Place forms part of the main thoroughfare through the town centre, including between the train station and bus station. Because of this, the centre is open to public access overnight, even when the shops are closed.

Addressing this, Cllr James said: “It needs to be looked at but it has also got to be possible for people to access the town.

“It is not going to be an easy thing because we need to make things easy to use for people in the town centre and not make things difficult for the retailers.

“But for that store and high-value retailers more needs to be done to protect them.”

Officers were called at around 10.30pm on Monday with reports that a number of people were in the store.
Police have confirmed that three men, aged 23, 28 and 37, from Southampton were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

The store remained closed on Tuesday, with police on scene.

A spokesperson for Beaverbrooks said on Tuesday: “We are doing everything we can do assist the police in their investigation and to ensure our colleagues at the store are fully supported.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers and hope to reopen on Wednesday, February 26.”

Festival Place refused to comment on the incident.