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Totterdown shop owners burgled in ‘horrendous’ week for their family business

The owners of a family-run business have been left “devastated” after they were targeted by burglars twice in one week, costing them an estimated £7,000 in damage and losses.

John and Sharon Marsh own Hang It Picture Framing in Totterdown, and have been targeted by thieves who took three paintings from their shop. Burglars first tried to break in just after midnight on Friday, February 18, but were unable to get into the property after they triggered the alarm on a fire door.

The husband-and-wife team secured the doors to prevent another break in, but on Sunday, February 20 at about 9pm, they were targeted again. Thieves broke in through the back of the building, chiselling away parts of the surrounding brickwork so they could pull away bars which covered a window before making their way through it.

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Once they were inside the building they stole three pieces of artwork, smashing the frames from some of them so that they could get them out through the window. They ran off just minutes before Sharon and John arrived at the building after being alerted by the alarm.

NHS nurse Sharon told bristol live that the break-in was “horrendous”, and said that she and her husband have put “blood sweat and tears getting this business together just for someone to break in and rob us like that”. She said the pictures alone were worth £4,500, but estimates the total damage comes to £7,000.



Burglers smashed through the back window to get into the shop

She suspects that the thieves could have been after those specific pictures as they didn’t take anything else. “They specifically came in and just took what they wanted, like [in] Supermarket Sweep really. Whatever they hit while they were taking it, it didn’t really matter,” said Sharon.

‘Like the Incredible Hulk’

After the attempted break-in, she and John secured the front door and the fire door, but John said that the damage done to get through the window at the back of the shop during the second break-in was “like the Incredible Hulk” had smashed through it.



Family business Picture Framing on Wells Road in Totterdown have been broken into twice in the last week.  Owner John Marsh with wife Sharon, an NHS nurse wife who has taken unpaid leave to help out at the shop.  Repairs have been made to prevent further incidents.
Repairs have been made to prevent further incidents

They first opened the business in January 2020, and have had to deal with the ups and downs of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on them financially, while Sharon has been working on the frontline as a nurse at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

And she says that she is heartbroken to have been targeted like this after the difficulties of the last two years. “I’ll never forget the day we first opened, we were so happy. We really thought about the window display and all the worst of it, and then Covid hit and Boris did the meeting and he said we all had to shut.

“Me and John came up here, we had tears on our eyes, emptying the windows, because you didn’t know whether people would be looting, you just didn’t what was going to happen. So all that lovely display we put out , we boxed up and put away, and that was bad enough going through that.

“But to then come here, and as we walked through the door it was smashed, pictures and everything all over the floor, it was devastating. It’s no different to if we were robbed at home. We’ve put a lot of time into this building to make it really good for people in Totterdown.”



The three pieces of artwork which were stolen
The three pieces of artwork which were stolen

police statement

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police said: ““An attempted burglary at a commercial premises in Wells Road, Bristol, occurred at about 12.05am on Friday 18 February was reported to us. A burglary then occurred at the same location at about 9pm on Sunday, 20 February.

“CCTV inquiries are ongoing. We’d ask anyone who saw what happened, or witnessed anything suspicious in the area on either evening, to call 101 and give reference number 5222042657.”

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