South Shields club boss hires own guard after spate of car break-ins - and calls for more police action

Kerrie Katopodis, left, and Katie Donald
Kerrie Katopodis, left, and Katie Donald

A South Tyneside nightclub boss has called on police to stop a spate of car break-ins – the latest of which saw clothes belonging to Little Mix star Jade Thirlwall stolen.

Kerrie Katopodis says she will hire her own guard to watch the lane behind Club del Mar in Ocean Road, South Shields, after four attacks on vehicles in three months.

The most recent was in the early hours of Sunday and saw a jacket and blouse – donated for charity auction by South Shields-born singer Jade – snatched.

Victim Katie Donald, 18, had been due to post the items to their new owner on Saturday, but club work commitments prevented her.

Instead, she was left counting the cost of damage to her car – and the removal of the clothes - after her red Citroen was attacked.

Kerrie says raiders have also broken into her high-value Mercedes Jeep and another staff member’s car twice and she even installed CCTV and security floodlights to the lane.

She said: “I’ve done my bit with the added security but do feel the police could have looked more into these incidents.

“I didn’t hear back from them for three weeks after my car was broken into and neither did my staff member whose car was attacked twice.

“This week I’ll have someone there to watch, I’ll pay someone if that’s what it takes.

“We are trying everything that we can, and I wish the police would appear to take these incidents more seriously.”

The jacket and blouse had been auctioned for £150 and £50 respectively through Kerrie’s clothing shop, Empire Pre-Loved Dress Agency, where Katie also works.

Jade donates clothing which is sold or auctioned online, with proceeds going to South Shields charity Cancer Connections, of which she is a patron.

Northum bria Police sergeant Steve Prested said: “We’re asking for people to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity they see.

“We’d also remind people to make sure they remove property from their vehicles to prevent opportunist thefts.

“Most of the thefts reported to us have been property left in plain view and includes a wrapped Xmas present, spectacles, a satchel and a tie.

“Police are also using all forensic opportunities to identify those responsible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 196 of 17/12/17.