A crime-plagued Leeds pet shop boss has been left counting the cost again after a car smashed into her business.
Helen Wolstenholme – who has been struggling in the face of competition from big business – has been robbed at knifepoint twice and burgled once in the last two years.
She has now been dealt a further blow after a car caused significant damage to her small independent store, Creature Comforts on Green Road in Meanwood, Leeds, in an early hours crash.
Miss Wolstenholme, 25, said: “The incidents haven’t affected us as much financially, but my mental state has been affected.
“It’s heartbreaking when you put so much into it.”
Miss Wolstenholme worked in the shop, which sells ethically-sourced animals and pet supplies, before taking over as owner in April 2011.
She was first threatened at knifepoint in January 2011, while working for the previous owners. The robber took cash from the till and escaped.
Five months later an armed man raided the premises but was thwarted after Miss Wolstenholme bravely grabbed the knife he was carrying.
A 45-year-old was given an indeterminate sentence for that incident later in 2011.
In August of last year burglars attempted to kick the door through but failed because of security grills.
In the most recent incident Miss Wolstenholme got a call in the early hours of Sunday, October 20, to say that a Fiat Stilo car had run into the shop.
She had to wait for structural engineers to confirm the property was safe before being allowed back in. The animals in the shop were unharmed, but Miss Wolstenholme said she is now considering moving location.
“We have a very loyal customer base, but there’s only so much you can take,” she said.
“When we took over the shop we knew it would be difficult, but back then there wasn’t so much competition.
“Because I’m self-employed it makes it especially difficult.
“We aren’t going to be able to carry on the way things are going. We’re thinking about moving somewhere else.”
A 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and failing to stop after an accident following last week’s incident and is on bail.