A SHOPKEEPER who is working flat-out to keep her business going and customers happy during the coronavirus crisis has been hit by a new blow after her store was burgled.

Ebony Leach was devastated to receive a phone call early on Sunday morning to say her shop – Baby and Toddler Kingdom in Bishop Auckland – had been broken into.

The thief had used a stool, thought to have been left outside a nearby property, to smash a side window on the corner of Newgate Street and Flintoff Street.

They then reached through the broken glass and dragged an Ickle Bubba Discovery Max stroller, in khaki with a rose gold frame, outside. The stolen item is worth £159.

The Northern Echo:

Miss Leach said: “I got a call from a friend at about 6am on Sunday and nearly ignored it because it was so early, I thought I better check if everything was okay.

“They’d been on their way to work and saw the window smashed, by the time I got to the shop there were already police officers there. It had been broken into at 2.10am.

“I was devastated, I opened the shop three years ago and have put a lot into it. This is an awful thing to happen.

“Even if I got the stroller back I couldn’t sell it now, so I’ve lost that stock and have to repair the window.

“This has come at a really bad time, as we’re going to have to close for the next few weeks because of coronavirus. I was already working on an appointment-only basis for customers to minimise how many people came to the shop, now I have this to deal with.”

She urged anyone with information to contact police and called on fellow businesspeople in the town centre to check CCTV for footage that could help.

She added: “I hope they are caught, people shouldn't get away with this.”

Police are investigating the burglary and have appealed to the public for information.

A Durham police spokesperson said: “Officers are appealing for information following a burglary at Baby and Toddler Kingdom on Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland. In the early hours of Sunday morning, the suspects smashed a window to gain entry to the shop before stealing a stroller from the window display.

“Anyone with any information that could help the investigation is asked to call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 47 of March 22.”