UPDATE: Shocked shopkeepers tell of Cranwell ram raid ordeal - two men arrested in connection with raid

The shocked owners of a village convenience store were awoken in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) to their home being shaken by the impact of a ram raid going on downstairs.

The owners of the family-run Cranwell Convenience Store, on College Road, Cranwell, near Sleaford, were in bed upstairs when the smash and grab rocked the building.

A view of the damage done to the interior of the shop at Cranwell by the ram raiders.

A view of the damage done to the interior of the shop at Cranwell by the ram raiders.

Shopkeeper Saranjit Atwal said: "My son was awake downstairs and we were awake in bed. The whole house shook and we ran downstairs, but the shop door is locked. By the time we opened it they were gone."

Their sons were at home from university and son Gurpreet Atwal said he was still downstairs at about 3am when he heard the crash which caved in the front of the shop window and doorway, also wrecking the counter area.

He said: "All I heard was a car revving and and smashing into the wall. There was no way I could get into the shop as it was locked so I hammered on the door. I think they heard me knocking and panicked and ran.

He said he believed there were three men in hoodies wearing gloves and masks. They had used a VW Beetle to ram the shop four times, before driving off in it afterwards.

Wrecked - the caved in shop front at Cranwell Convenience Store. Photo: John Aron

Wrecked - the caved in shop front at Cranwell Convenience Store. Photo: John Aron

Police and forensics experts have spent the morning studying the premises and its security camera footage with the shattered shop closed and cordoned off. Two men have since been arrested in connection with the burglary, according to a Lincolnshire Police spokesman.

His father estimated it may cost between £8,000 and £10,000 to repair on under the insurance, yet the raiders made off with only six to eight bottles of Jack Daniels and vodka along with about £100 from the till float. All the tills had been ransacked.

Mr Atwal said: "The police were here very quick - within a couple of minutes."

He did not expect to be able to re-open until at least Monday, saying: "It has affected the business and everything - people have been coming trying to pick up their prescriptions which we also receive for them, but we will carry on, as life goes on. It is frustrating as so little was taken but there has been a huge waste of time, money and inconvenience."

Just a few bottles of spirits and about 100 out of the till were taken in the raid which will cost thousands of pounds to put right. Photo: John Aron

Just a few bottles of spirits and about 100 out of the till were taken in the raid which will cost thousands of pounds to put right. Photo: John Aron

This incident comes almost three years after Mr Atwal's wife, Harjinder, was threatened by a robber wielding a machete in the shop in October 2015. Two men from the Sleaford area were later arrested and jailed for the robbery but Mrs Atwal was left traumatised by the incident.

She said: "I am so scared. I don't feel like working here again. I still do not sleep properly after the robbery. I am always thinking something will happen in the night.

"We seem to be an easy target, I don't know why. It is only a small business with not much money. It has damaged the electrics. They could not break the door but squeezed in through a gap in the wall and behind the counter."

She added: "We asked for permission from the council to install a roller shutter at the front but the district council refused as it would affect the look of the area and now this has happened and we cannot afford the shutter now anyway. If we had the shutter there would have been less damage."

The doorway of the store at Cranwell was rammed into the shop by the raiders. Photo: John Aron

The doorway of the store at Cranwell was rammed into the shop by the raiders. Photo: John Aron

As a result there is a police manhunt for at least three people following the raid.

A police spokesman said two men have since been arrested in connection with the burglary investigation - one aged 40, the other 32.

The spokesman said they were called at around 3.15 am to reports of a vehicle which had been crashed into the store, causing extensive damage.

At least three people were seen to steal property from the store.

Officers have since seized a vehicle, a yellow VW Beetle, as part of the enquiry.

Police are appealing for information in relation to this burglary and ask anyone who has information or can help with the enquiry to contact 101 quoting incident number 29 of August 30.

In a potentially linked incident, there was an attempted break-in at the office of Cranwell Parish Social Club on Old School Lane in the early hours of Monday morning.

A man in a dark hooded top was captured on CCTV cameras spending an hour trying to prize open the door of the office, according to club secretary Paul Dolby.

Mr Dolby said: "From 2.10am until 3.10am he was trying to prize open the office door, ruining the wooden door frame. As he managed to open it a fraction the alarm went off and he ran off. There was no vehicle in the car park but he went off towards the main road."

The club's steward was there immediately and the police were there soon after. Nothing was taken but the door frame and lock will have to be replaced on insurance, explained Mr Dolby.

"It is just annoying as the door has been boarded up and we have to go in the main entrance instead. The new door frame will cost quite a lot."