A SHOPKEEPER in Overton says he is “shocked” and “scared” after three men were caught on CCTV attempting to break into his store.

Tesh Patel, 57, who runs Spar on Greyhound Lane, told the Advertiser that the attempted break-in occurred in the early hours of Sunday, November 14, and was only stopped by the arrival of a delivery driver.

The shop’s CCTV cameras caught three people, at 12:15am, dressed in similar clothing who fled the scene in a car - but the number plate is taped over and so not visible.

Mr Patel said: “They were about to break in, but luckily a delivery driver came in the early morning and the gang didn’t know what to do.

“The driver did follow them, at a distance, and saw three of them wearing hoodies, tracksuits and balaclavas, but the registration plate was taped over.”

“The next morning, he came to see me and tells me to have a look at my CCTV, and I was shocked.

“They had taken a crowbar out, and a bag. We are very lucky nothing happened and nobody was hurt.”

Describing the moment he saw the CCTV, Mr Patel said: “It gives you a chill when you see it. They are nearly six foot tall! The way they are looking you know they are trying to get something.

“Looking at them, they have no fear. When they are thinking of breaking in, you don’t know what they are capable of. Next time it could be somewhere where someone is home.”

Mr Patel, who has had the shop since 2004 and runs it with his wife and son, added: “We do worry, because we have been here over 15 years and we have never had a crime here at all. We are going to try and get a shutter because it is quite a big front window.

“You hear about these things, but when you see it it is a different matter. Every night we worry. Until the shutter comes in, me and my son are very vigilant. It just scares you.”

Mr Patel said the police were “very supportive” and that enquiries are ongoing. He said he has been warned not to attempt to approach the group, should they return, and now wants to pass on the warning message to others in the area.

“This is a community shop. We are right in the middle of the community and the community is supportive as well, and they are shocked as well,” he said.

Posting to Facebook, Mr Patel shared images from the CCTV footage, and wrote: “Last Sunday 14/11/2020 at 12:15am there was an attempted break in by three masked men. We the Patel family are making these photos public to the Overton Community to ensure residents and business owners to stay vigilant over the next couple days/weeks. We are incredibly lucky that our newspaper delivery driver arrived and spooked the individuals just as they were about to break in, luckily there was no damage to the premises or to us. The Police have advised us not to share the full CCTV video hence the delay in sharing photos.

“We believe the masked men are opportunistic as the car was captured by CCTV making its way up Sapley Lane before turning around and reversing into the Spar car park. Unfortunately the number plate has been tapped/covered but we believe the car is BMW or Audi estate car. The car was then seen driving back down Greyhound Land.

“The Police have been informed and are currently conducting an investigation. If anyone has any further information please ring 101 quoting following reference - INC 2020 1115/0658.”

The Advertiser has contacted Hampshire Constabulary for comment.