FRUSTRATED townsfolk have sympathised with shop staff after a food store was burgled for the third time in a month at the weekend.

The Co-operative, in Sedgefield, was targeted by burglars on October 22, November 10 and, now, overnight from Friday to Saturday, each time delaying opening as staff clean up and crime scene inquiries take place.

Following the latest break-in, a sign displayed in the Front Street premises simply read: “Due to a break-in overnight we will be unable to open at our normal time, at 7am today whilst we wait for crime scene investigation and repairs to the store.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and aim to be back up and running as soon as possible.”

The store reopened later.

Local people sent best wishes via social media posts to the stoic store staff and agreed it may be time to mount shutters, against conservation area regulations.

Kate Stanley, summed up local feeling: “Residents are understandably angry and concerned, and the staff are incredibly disappointed.”