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Has media frenzy created a ‘Lidl’ crime wave as crooks target the ‘posh’?

Artist's impression of what a new Lidl in Berkhamsted could look like and (inset) the aftermath of a raid on the town's Bailey & Sons

Artist's impression of what a new Lidl in Berkhamsted could look like and (inset) the aftermath of a raid on the town's Bailey & Sons

 

Facebook users have expressed fears that criminals are targeting Berkhamsted because the Daily Mail called it ‘the town that thinks it’s too posh for Lidl’.

They posted their concerns on the Everything Berko page.

Some said the sale of Berkhamsted Police Station – though the police have moved into nearby Berkhamsted Civic Centre – could have encouraged crooks to move in on the town

The first message in a long thread said: “It seems to me that since this no Lidl protest that has occurred, the crime rate in Berko has shot up!

“Is it just me that thinks this? We’ve had armed robbery, a mugging and burglary is on the rise.

“Thanks to your media about Berko being too posh – you’ve just sent the crime rate up in our lovely town.”

The Mail reported on the anti-Lidl backlash two weeks after it was covered on this website when pensioner John Waller described the protesters as ‘toffee-nosed twits’.

ITV London and BBC London then also latched onto the story and broadcast it on their prime-time television news programmes.

Less than a month later Berkhamsted town centre jewellers Bailey & Sons was raided by two robbers who were armed with an axe.

Kane Oye, 21, of Lavender Avenue, near Wembley, has since been charged in connection with the offence.

More than 45 people have now liked the comment that media coverage of the anti-Lidl protest and the crime rate could be linked.

The comment comes a week after Facebook user Amanda Jobling linked the two – as reported in this story

But some have nonsensed the claim that criminals are targeting the area after hearing it was posh – and therefore wealthy – on the news.

One Everything Berko Facebook user said: “Wow... what a leap!”

Another said: “I think Berko’s always been seen as a “moneyed” town worth targeting.

“I really doubt a public debate about supermarkets or bonkers Daily Mail headlines give criminals new ideas – they know where to go.”

Another said to the original poster: “There you go, you’ve just written an article for the Gazette...”

This website asked the police if they thought there was a link between coverage of the anti-Lidl backlash and the crime rate. But nobody was available to comment at the time when this article was published.

UPDATE:

The police have now issued a statement on this matter, found here

 

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