THE owner of a pop-up golf shop whose stock was stolen in the run-up to the Hoylake Open has said the incident has not blighted his opinion of the town.
Vic Tolhurst discovered the break-in after opening the front door of his Market Street shop on Monday morning. Thieves got away with an estimated £10,000 of clothing, including 250 waterproof suits.
It is believed raiders had forced their way into the store sometime between 6pm on Sunday and the early hours of Monday.
An investigation is underway and detectives are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.
Vic, 72, and from Wakefield, had only opened the shop for the tournament and is only in Hoylake for two weeks.
He told the Globe: "I've been selling golf equipment and clothing for 25 years and this is the first time I've been robbed.
"Whoever did this came in through the back of the shop. I only realised there'd been a break because the place was really cold.
"The experience has not blighted my opinion of the area. Hoylake's a nice place and I'd like to live here if I had the chance."
Vic was last in Wirral for The Open in 2006, which saw champion Tiger Woods lift the Claret Jug at Royal Liverpool.
Looking back on his first visit, Vic said: "I had a marquee set up in West Kirby then, so I didn't have a chance to come into Hoylake because it was a case of head down and run the shop."
Asked who he thought would win this year's championship, Vic said: "Ernie Els has a chance; he's a lucky golfer. He's won twice in the Open, when he probably shouldn't have. Nice fella, but so laid back he's asleep."
On the police response to the break-in Vic said: "The police have been brilliant. I'd like five minutes with whoever did this, but I think there would be a queue as a lot of people feel the same."
Detective Inspector Rachel Wilson said: "The offender has made off with quite a large quantity of clothing from this temporary pop-up shop.
"I would appeal to anyone with information about this incident to call police.
"In particular if anyone has been offered any sports clothing with Normanton Golf Club printed on it please let us know as you could have really important information for our enquiries."