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POLICE believe youths using a high-powered catapult are responsible for a spate of shop windows being smashed in Crowthorne over the festive period.

Six incidents were reported between December 18 and 28, with four occurring on the same day.

In five of the incidents police believe 20mm steel ball bearings were fired at the windows using a catapult.

Burns and Partner Bathrooms, Plumbing, Heating and DIY Supplies on Dukes Ride had its front window smashed on December 18.

The damage was discovered at 12.50pm along with a ball bearing, which was found outside the front of the shop.

Shop worker Ken Luckins said: "The shop wasn't broken into and nothing was stolen, it was simply wanton destruction and has caused £1,000 worth of damage."

On the same day The Last Shoe restaurant on Church Street, the Fivestar Fishfrier fish and chip shop a couple of doors away and another restaurant also had their front windows smashed.

The following week Woodmancote charity shop on High Street had its front window smashed sometime between Christmas Eve and December 28.

Jean Chance, manager of the shop, believes the damage may have been caused by youths.

"It looked as though someone had been shooting a ball bearing as there was a smallish hole at the centre of the smash.

"We have had this happen in the past and it just keeps pushing our premiums up.

"I didn't report the damage to the police this time as

nothing ever seems to get done and no one ever seems to get caught for these things."

Bewitched Fancy Dress shop also had its front window smashed at 12.10am on Saturday, December 28.

Police are unsure of the cause of damage but they do not believe it was caused by a ball bearing.

PC Mark Everett, area beat officer for Crowthorne, said: "We are nearly 100 per cent sure that the ball bearings found were launched off a catapult.

"We have done some research and believe the most likely catapult used was a Black Widow.

"Nowhere in Crowthorne, Sandhurst or Bracknell sells this type of catapult and the nearest place that does is a shop in Yateley, but none have been sold there in the last six months.

"We have spoken to a

couple of garages and they believe the ball bearings

have come from out of a Ford or Vauxhall car as they

are not available to buy separately.

"We do not believe it was anything malicious against the shop owners, they were probably just targeting big windows.

"No other incidents involving anything like this have been reported since."

Anyone with information that could be relevant to the investigation should contact PC Kenny Dawkins via the Helpdesk on (01753) 835 55, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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