A single mum has been left with a £500 insurance bill after her Hither Green shop was burgled for the fifth time in five years.

Michelle Morden, 36, has thanked the community for its “amazing” support in helping her report the break-in, but has called for CCTV on Hither Green Lane to prevent more crime.

The mum-of-one learned her shop Zenubian, which sells fair trade goods and runs workshops, had been targeted yet again when her pilates instructor called her shortly after 8am on Saturday.

“I was upset and rushed to get to the shop. I realised they had taken the till but there wasn’t anything else missing,” she told News Shopper.

News Shopper:

Michelle was alerted to the break-in on Saturday morning. Photo: Zenubian on Facebook

When Michelle arrived at Zenubian, she realised an off-duty police officer had reported the break-in and had guarded the shop front while he waited for someone to arrive.

“I didn’t get his surname but he was called Matt. He had just finished a night shift and was driving past when he noticed the door was wrecked. He took it upon himself to wait until we arrived.”

A Met Police spokeswoman said: “It is believed that entry to the property was gained by forcing the front door at some time between 21:45hrs on Friday, 12 July and 06:00hrs on Saturday.

“A till is believed to have been taken from the premises.”

News Shopper:

The door of the shop had been forced open. Photo: Zenubian on Facebook

She added no arrests had been made and enquiries were ongoing but could not find out the identity of the off-duty officer.

The mystery cop was not the only kind stranger to help Michelle, as other nearby residents responded to her Facebook appeal for witnesses.

“A woman called Chloe sent me a message to say her partner, Danny, had spotted the missing till in someone’s back garden,” Michelle explained.

With Danny’s help, Michelle recovered the till, which had been emptied and dumped, and gave it to the police for fingerprinting.

“People around here are very supportive. Most people who know me and have been into the shop know I’m a single mum trying to support myself and my son.

“When independent businesses are targeted, it makes people angry and upset,” she said.

Despite the community support, Michelle is dismayed after the fifth attack on Zenubian.

“It seems that it doesn’t matter what security you have. The hairdressers across the road was broken into last week and they had shutters on their windows, but they were jimmied open.

“I could have internal shutters but they’re £3,500. I haven’t got that kind of money. I’m a sole trader and a single mum,” Michelle, who has a six-year-old son, told News Shopper.

Michelle now believes the only deterrent to the crime is to have CCTV installed, and she has reported her concerns to the Hither Green Association.

“I think the whole community would benefit. This road is notorious.

“It would certainly put someone off breaking in if they thought they would be caught on camera.”