A HOUNSLOW pharmacist who went 30 years without any serious trouble - has become the victim of crime twice in four days.
Avtar Singh been forced to deal with the aftermath of a robber raiding his shop, the much-loved community man also suffered the nightmare of a burglary at his home as well.
Burglars broke into Mr Singh’s house in the early hours of Monday, February 13, and a robber struck at his shop in Hounslow High Street three days later.
Mr Singh, who runs Crystal Pharmacy, near Hounslow bus garage, with his wife Balbir, said he was extremely shaken by the two crimes.
“I’ve served the community for nearly 30 years and enjoy working here, but since the robbery we feel like giving up,” said the 59-year-old, who has two children and two granddaughters. “We’ve had the odd shoplifter, like all traders, but nothing like this before.
“I’ve always felt safe here before but in recent years hearing about all the thefts and muggings from my customers has made me nervous about going out. The police need to do more to make the High Street safe.”
Mr Singh, his wife and his mother Ajit were asleep upstairs at their house in Alexandra Gardens when burglars broke in some time between midnight and 5am last Monday.
He woke to find his front door wide open and his cars, a BMW and a Mercedes, missing, along with his mobile phone.
He was at the checkout with his assistant at about 5pm last Thursday when a man walked up and demanded he hand over the contents of the till – about £300.
There were 3,750 burglaries in the borough of Hounslow during the past year – more than 10 a day and nearly 18 per cent up on the previous 12 months. The total number of robberies has risen by eight per cent to 922 during the same period.
In Hounslow central, the number of burglaries has risen by nearly a third in the past year, from 13.7 to 18.1 offences per 1,000 residents. Robberies in the ward are up 16 per cent to 9.5 per 1,000 residents in the same period.
DC Scott Avery, of Hounslow Police, said town centre patrols had been increased and all burglary victims were visited by officers and given security advice.
Richard Antoine appeared at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Saturday, February 18, in connection with the robbery. He is charged with two counts of robbery, one of theft and two of possessing a weapon.
The 25-year-old, of Eversley Crescent, Isleworth, was remanded in custody to appear at Isleworth Crown Court on May 2.
Anyone with information about the burglary in Alexandra Gardens is asked to call DC Avery on 020 8247 6160.