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Burglars 'mutilate' CD cabinet, leaving staff 'stressed'

One or more suspects carried out an "untidy search" for medicines in the pharmacy, say Devon and Cornwall Police

Staff at Milehouse Pharmacy in Plymouth say they are "frustrated" that burglars forced open the front door to steal the cash till and medicines

Staff at a Plymouth pharmacy have been left "frustrated" after its controlled drugs cabinet was "mutilated" and medicines stolen.

Police were called to Milehouse Pharmacy on Wolseley Road, Plymouth last week (June 3) at around 4am after burglars forced open the front door and conducted an "untidy search", Devon and Cornwall Police said on the day of the burglary.

The cabinet was forced open and and unknown number of offenders left with the till drawer and controlled drugs including bottles of methadone, diazepam and temazepam, the police said. 

Pharmacist Helen Tugwell told C+D that staff were "stressed" as a result of the additional workload caused by the burglary. Having experienced burglaries almost two decades ago, Ms Tugwell branded this incident "particularly expensive".

"We had a spate of burglaries 16 to 18 years ago - I've been held at knifepoint twice. This was unusual in that I've never had a burglary where the CD cupboard was mutilated," she said.

It was obvious that "a lot of physical effort" had gone into damaging the pharmacy, with shattered glass at the entrance, stock "everywhere" and paperwork left in "unexpected places", she told C+D.

Patients could not enter the store while repairs were being carried out the following day, and staff had to liase with patients who had run out of their medication outside the premises, Ms Tugwell added.

Detective inspector John Bancroft said the drugs had been locked in a “substantial cabinet” and stressed that the offenders “must have spent a considerable amount of time on the premises”. He urged anyone who was offered any of the stolen drugs or knew who was responsible to contact the police, as taking the stolen medication - in particular methadone - without a prescription could “result in serious health risks”.

Anyone with any information should email police on [email protected] or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, Devon and Cornwall Police added.


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London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I bet the owner would have preferred his staff getting their heads kicked in than damage to fixtures and fittings. In this country damage to property is treated more seriously than to the person.

anil shah, Locum pharmacist

Did you have alarm strip on the window/s and door , you should have rec'd phone as a main key holder . I had similar problem on the bottom or half the door had glass broken I put thick gage plastic inside and shutters, after that I never had any problem.fix the problem take advise from police authority they are very good in giving advise.

Brian Austen, Senior Management

Yet another pharmacy where neither the general security nor CD security measures were able to stop the thieves taking what they wanted. This along with the other many recent robberies goes to show that security standards are not good enough to prevent theft in many pharmacies.

Hadi Al-Bayati, Locum pharmacist

Hatton Gardens suffered a similar issue recently

Mike Jarrett, Community pharmacist

What a meaningless comment Mr Austen . Anyone that has suffered pharmacy robberies will tell you that determined thieves will get what they want . There simply isn't the police cover to prevent this type of crime . Fort Knox type security isn't affordable or practical .

Brian Austen, Senior Management

I am not a security sales person so have nothing to gain by recommending that all pharmacies review their security instead of having the negative attitude that security improvements are not affordable or even worthwhile. The pharmacy that has good security in place will be less of a target than the one with poor security in place. The pharmacy team also deserve the best security you can afford.

Amal England, Public Relations

If someone managed to break through Fort Knox type security, I assume they would be doing so for more than a few bottles of methadone and a fist full of pounds.....?

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