By in Store News

Overnight Smash and Grab at Havens. Oh What a Day!

When the telephone rings at 4.00am it is not a great sound. Sure enough it was ADT alarms advising that the store alarm had gone off and the police will be in  attendance.

I only live 2 minutes away so was able to get to the store very quickly after receiving the call. On arriving I find that the armour plated glass door has been brutally attacked with a hammer and large pieces of concrete – the glass shattering everywhere. The Police take a little longer to respond but it is clear that the intruders have made a quick getaway anyway.

Perfume bottles and glass are everywhere they targeted Chanel No. 5 in particular although a number of other brands were stolen including Guerlain, Jean Paul Gaultier, Clarins, Lalique Perfume, Bulgari, Jimmy Choo, Issey Myake. At least they had taste!

I take my hat off to my team here at Havens. The Perfumery was up and running an hour after SOCO had finished their examinations and we all carried on if nothing had happened.

It is a great shame that a minority of people do not have the same moral compass as the rest of us. The aggravation and stress they cause is huge, it is not just the burglary which is a violation in itself,  it is the clearing up, the boarding up and then glazing of the door, making Police statements, dealing with the Loss adjusters and so it goes on.

Out of this though you do see the human side of people. At 5.00am I am clearing up the debris and a high viz jacket appears. Hi mate what’s been going on, I tell you what give me 5 minutes Guv, I will be back. Sure enough to his word Sean a street cleaner for the Borough of Southend reappeared with waste wagon, heavy duty gloves, large broom and even larger smile and proceeded to help. Just the type of tonic this good Samaritan gave he will never realise – certainly redressed the balance in human nature.

Then there was the next door neighbour who called in early before he set of for London, to provide vital information on what he heard and saw which hopefully will help Police with their enquiries.

The rest of the day was unbelievable busy too. Pallets of Villeroy and Boch China, Dartington Glass, Maxwell and Williams China, Jamie Oliver China and Ritzenhoff arrived. Again the team pulled together to deal with this huge influx of product and matched it to the internet orders that needed fulfilling.

Finally I am still here at 8.00pm waiting for an Engineer from the ADT alarm company to call me back to assist us with extra security cover whilst the door is still vulnerable.

We have been waiting since midday and having chased them on numerous occasions apart from a helpful manager no one from the Engineering department has had the courtesy to call me to advise the ETA of the engineer. “Your calls are important to us and recorded for customer service training” the on  hold voice screams – I do not think so!

More gestures of Customer support keep arriving in the form of cards and even flowers, it is really gratifying to feel the community rallying around and giving us a lift.

I shall and I suspect my team will remember this day far for a very long time. Oh what a day!


  1. My wife and I were so saddened to read about the violation of your shop and the losses by theft of all the perfumes.

    I sincerely hope that the police catch the perpetrators and the courts give severe prison sentences and not just a slap on the wrist.

    Havens is a part of so many Westcliff on Sea families’ history and always a delight to visit even when we can’t always afford your delightful range of goods.

    I trust and pray that you may get some balance of reimbursement from insurance and that this despicable act does not damage your business too much.

    Thank you for being the best shop for miles around for quality gifts.

    You have been there for all of my life and of my parents too.

    I hope you continue to be there for my children and there children as well.

    We share your sadness at this time and hope that this will never happen to Havens again.

    Good luck for the (economically uncertain) future and we wish all the Haven family and their staff a Very happy and a Blessed Christmas

    and a Prosperous New Year.

    Wishing you once again a Merry Christmas.

    Mr & Mrs John Wright.

    1. Dear Mr and Mrs Wright,

      Thank you so much for your warming email. It is so gratifying to receive this and the many other letters and emails expressing such love and support of our company.

      As the saying goes in times of need you certainly find out who your friends are.

      The reality is that the incident was very much a smash and grab with not too disastrous amount of stock stolen. The real frustration is dealing with the aftermath of clearing up, boarding up, reglazing the armour plated door at a huge cost and obviously dealing with the loss adjustor. Happily we are well insured.

      Once again many thanks for taking the time to express you support.

      Seasons greetings to you and your family,

      Kind regards,