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Grieving family hit by fourth burglary in four months

The scene in Hempton’s Bar after the latest raid on Tuesday morning.

A grieving Newtownstewart family say they are considering closing their pub in the town after being burgled for the fourth time in as many months.

Thieves are made off with several thousand pounds after prising open the safe inside Hempton’s Bar in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

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It follows two break-ins at the family owned pub on Main Street over the Christmas period.

In February, a property next door, which the family leases to an opticians, was similarly targeted in a smash and grab raid.

Speaking to the Chronicle on Tuesday, Aaron Hempton said the latest burglary came as he was still coming to terms with the death of his father Andrew in January.

“It’s hard to take,” he said. “I lost my father in January after the other break-ins and everything has been kind of up the left here at home since that. It has been difficult with finances. We just didn’t need this.

Aaron said the latest theft had left his mother Carol distraught.

“My mother was in hysterics this morning. She was saying there’s no point opening up again if this is what we have to live with. It’s possibly the shock speaking,” he said.

“But we have had a lot to deal with lately. It just seems to be one kick in the teeth after the other.

The Newtownstewart man said the family had barricaded up the door smashed open by thieves over Christmas.

However this time he said the culprits had removed the entire door frame.

“They pulled the safe out and managed to get the door open. There was quite a lot of change and cash in the safe, because it was probably the busiest weekend we had since Christmas.

“We never had any bother, but that’s four break-ins now in four months.

“It’s just gutting. You’re trying your best and then you get hit with something like this again.”

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 15 Main Street, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, BT82 8AS