A HALESOWEN barber has been left gutted after burglars targeted his business and stole the tools of his trade.

Joey Howards Market Street Barbers in the Plaza Mall was one of a string of shops targeted when two men broke into the shopping precinct in the early hours of Friday (January 24).

The offenders drilled through the lock on the back door of the mall on High Street and then kicked down the door to Joe Howard's unit, at around midnight.

Joe, who started his own barbers age 18 in 2013 and has grafted in the shop ever since, has CCTV images of the two men and their car and is appealing for anyone with information to contact police.

A butchers, bakers, pet shop, pork sandwich cafe, and new flower shop were also targeted - but Joe was the worst hit.

Halesowen News:

Joe, aged 25, of Halesowen, said: "They stole around half my tools, things like scissors, combs, clippers - everything I need to make money.

"As well as a £50 float, an X-box and they tried to take a TV and had half ripped it off the wall.

"They were just grabbing stuff out of cupboards, pulling everything out and made a right mess. (pictured above)

"It was around £400 worth of stuff that I have had to go out and replace.

"I'm disappointed that someone would do this - why don't they go and earn their money and make a better life for themselves.

"Why steal from other people - that's money I need to support my family and pay my bills."

Unfortunately Joe was not covered by insurance, so the loss has come from his own pocket.

Halesowen News:

The hard-working former Windsor High and Halesowen College pupil, (pictured above) who is now back trading as normal, fulfilled his dream of opening his own business in 2013.

He was hailed a hero when he saved a customer at a nearby cafe from chocking last February - by springing into action and performing the Heimlich manoeuvre on the woman, who was in her 80s.

Plaza mall owner Tony Swannie said: "At Plaza Mall we bring small retailers back to the High Street to try to thrive in this difficult market - we make everything as cheap as possible and then something like this happens it's absolutely outrageous.

"If these people take £50 from the till that sort of money can affect someone's livelihood. These people are trying to make a life for themselves in the most difficult times and then these scum come and do this.

"Joe has built up his business and created a life for himself and someone comes along and takes the tools of the trade he needs to work with - they are the lowest of the low and deserve jail time.

"It's vile.

"We have CCTV evidence which we have passed to the police and we would like to see these people in court."

Halesowen News:

Above: A CCTV image of one of the men 

Joe, who is set to marry his fiancee Becky Cadwallader this year, said: "Crime is on the rise. I've had friends who've been burgled when they were in their own home - both pubs in Colley Gate, the Round of Beef and Widders are being targeted.

"So many people are being burgled and having cars stolen.

"Halesowen town centre has also been affected - there's been a couple of break ins at other shops - the hairdressers and nail bars because they think they keep money in there.

"There's a lot of shoplifting - but the radios Halesowen BID bought have been really effective in tackling that."

Halesowen News:

Pictured above: The car the suspects used.

Halesowen News:

Above: A CCTV image of one of the suspects

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "We were called to reports of a burglary at the indoor market at Plaza Mall in High Street, Halesowen, at about 12.30am on Friday (24 January).

"A number of shop units were broken into, with cash and electrical equipment among items stolen.

"We’re examining CCTV footage and our enquiries are ongoing.

"Anyone with any information can contact us quoting 20DY/20582N/20 via Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight or call 101 anytime."