THE Nursery Thyme children’s and babywear shop in Devizes will remain closed for the foreseeable future after being flooded out over Christmas.
But it was not the rising waters of the Kennet and Avon Canal or a burst pipe that was responsible for the inundation but thieves who stole lead from the roof.
As reported last week, a large amount of lead was stolen from the roof of the building, which was in the process of being refurbished. Heavy rain just before Christmas did the rest.
The shop was flooded and thousands of pounds worth of stock – prams, pushchairs, cribs, blankets, car seats, nursery furniture and baby clothes – were ruined.
Yesterday, owner Carole Harris said it was still closed as she and her staff tried to dry the premises out and she couldn’t give a date for reopening.
Mrs Harris had widely advertised the shop’s January sale but the bargains will now go begging. She said: “We have totally lost our January sale, which is one of our busiest times of the year.
“It is our store rooms that were worst affected so we have moved as much stock as we could into the main shop, which doesn’t leave any room for customers.
“Although we have tried to salvage as much stock as we could, we have lost thousands of pounds worth.
“It has been devastating. Our turnover for this year will be massively affected.”
Although the entrance to Nursery Thyme is in the Wharfside shopping precinct on Couch Lane, the premises are part of the building that fronts Commercial Road and it is thought the thieves could have climbed up from there.
The theft of the lead occurred between Friday December 20, and Monday, December 23, while scaffolding was erected for the renovation work.
The building formerly housed Kennet Citizens’ Advice Bureau but that area has been largely empty for the past few years.
Wiltshire Police are still keen to talk to anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in the area over that weekend.
A force spokesman said: “It is thought the offence was carried out during night-time hours and it is also possible the offenders were disturbed, as a knife and an amount of lead that had already been dislodged was left.
“Officers are keen to speak to anyone who was in the Couch Lane area who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.