Medicines and beauty products stolen from the fire-hit Pender Pharmacy, Milton Road, Gravesend

Medicines and beauty products were stolen from a pharmacy partially destroyed in a fire.

Owner Stephen Kane, of Pender Pharmacy in Gravesend, said it was “frustrating” because he couldn’t access the site to secure the products.

Work on the fire damaged building in Queen Street, Gravesend

He said: “The problem is that although the building is secure, people can access through the old pub. We are desperate to get in there and secure everything.

“The only two avenues are to remove the drugs, which we can’t do because it’s still not safe to enter the building. Or we have to secure every access point and we can’t do that because the roads are closed and people would need to bring vans to this.

“It’s been frustrating. We can’t do anything about the break-ins and that’s what’s so frustrating. We’re not able to get in so I can’t say what happened.”

Mr Kane – who was alerted to the break-ins by police and nearby businesses – said the front door to the pharmacy was also damaged.

A structural engineer visited the scene this week and confirmed it was still unsafe to enter and would require internal scaffolding.

The store has been closed since May 26 after a massive fire broke out in a nearby business and former pub and left the pharmacy with extensive damage.

The damage to the Pender pharmacy on May 27
The damage to the Pender pharmacy on May 27

Police confirmed there had been several incidents at the Milton Road premises since the fire.

Between May 26 and June 14, a burglary allegedly took place during which medication was allegedly stolen.

On June 15, a 36-year-old man from Gravesend was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs after he was reported to have prescription drugs.

A 46-year-old man was also arrested on June 24 for receiving stolen property after drugs reported missing were found in a vehicle in which he was arrested.

Both men have been released under investigation as investigations continue.

At around 2am on June 21, the force was made aware of another ongoing incident at the pharmacy and three people were arrested on suspicion of burglary. Medicines and beauty products were recovered.

Site clearing work has begun.  Photo: Gravesham Borough Council
Site clearing work has begun. Photo: Gravesham Borough Council

Officers arrested a 40-year-old man from Longfield and a 41-year-old from Gravesend. Both have been released on bail until July 16 and 27 respectively while investigations continue.

Michael Johnson, 41, of Old Road East, Gravesend, was arrested and later charged with non-domestic burglary.

Mr Johnson has also been charged with theft from a vehicle other than a motor vehicle and theft from a store in connection with other incidents.

He appeared at Medway Magistrates’ Court on June 23 where he was remanded to appear at Maidstone Crown Court on July 21.

Patients can call Pender Pharmacy on 01474 323828 as usual and the team are currently working at Gravesend Medical Center.

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