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Gift shop to close unless vandal is caught

Chantelle Mockford outside her boarded up shop. Photo Shetnews/Neil Riddell

A YOUNG Shetland mum is threatening to close her successful gift shop on Lerwick’s Commercial Street unless the vandal who smashed her plate glass windows is caught.

Two weeks ago three windows at Fat Little Pony were deliberately broken causing damage worth £2,000.

Now 22 year old owner Chantelle Mockford has announced she will close the shop on 1 May, less than a year after it opened, unless the culprit is caught.

The man was captured on CCTV running up to the shop and breaking the three windows before running off again, but police said the images are not clear enough to press charges.

However chief inspector Eddie Graham said he was renewing his call for people to come forward with information about this “callous and cowardly crime”.

He said: “My belief is that someone somewhere will know something about this and we are renewing our appeal for information, because no case is dead in the water until we have followed every strand.”

Fat Little Pony before last month's attack.

Mockford said she had made her decision to close the shop after the police contacted her to say that they had run out of leads to follow.

She fears that if she repairs the windows, less than half the cost of which is covered by insurance, they will return and smash them again.

“I would consider not closing it if the person that did it was taken to court, but it’s too much stress if this keeps on happening,” she said.

Fat Little Pony opened on 25 May last year on the back of a successful online business selling gifts and home interior ware, with free deliveries in Lerwick.

“It was going really well so when the opportunity came up to get a shop on the street I went for it,” Mockford said.

The shop was a success and had built up a network of a dozen craft makers who were supplying locally made knitwear, stained glass and other gifts.

“I was surprised how well the shop was doing given its size, sales were really good, especially around tourist season and Christmas we were rushed off our feet.

“I feel devastated, like someone has died. I put so much effort into building it up and it’s been so difficult to get where it was – it’s just like a nightmare.”

The mother of a two and a half year old daughter now works as manageress at local boutique Peacocks, handling orders and administration of her own business while her father minds the Commercial Street shop.

She said she enjoys the work so much she will carry on with the online business, but her dream of a shop on Da Street ends in four weeks unless the police can catch the vandals who smashed her windows.