South East Wales

Rhondda butcher robbed of £2,000 Christmas orders

Thousands of pounds worth of meat has been stolen from a butcher's shop in the Rhondda.

Thieves raided Richards' Family Butchers in Porth overnight and more than 60 Christmas Day orders of turkey and beef will now have to be replaced.

Cash and presents for the owner's son, including a BMX bike, football shirts and X Box games were also taken.

Police have warned the public not to be tempted to buy cheap meat and are appealing for witnesses.

A van used to store some meat was also stolen.

Butcher Nick Critcher made the discovery when he arrived for work at the Llwyncelyn Industrial Estate at 04:30 GMT on Monday.

He told BBC Wales: "I got here about half past four this morning, started early because it was going to be a bit of a busy week.

"As I drove in to the gate, before I unlocked the gate, I noticed that the shutter door was open and I knew."

'Spoil Christmas'

Police believe the thieves struck some time after 17:00 GMT on Sunday and would have needed a large storage vehicle to make off with the goods.

South Wales Police Chief Insp Tony Brown said: "The timing of this incident could not be worse for both the business owner, and his many customers who had pre-ordered their meat ready for Christmas.

Image caption Butcher Nick Critcher was in tears as he described the discovery

"Firstly, I have assurances from the owner that everyone's orders for Christmas can and will be honoured, so there is absolutely no need for any customers to panic.

"However, the callous individuals responsible for this would never have known this. They were prepared to spoil Christmas for hundreds of families.

"People will be offered cheap meat and, as tempting as it may seem right now, they should refuse it and contact us straight away.

"It is also worth pointing out that meat in the wrong hands can be dangerous.

"Who knows how it has been handled or where it is being stored since it was taken?"

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