A cafe and a restaurant in Worthing were two businesses to suffer break-ins on Boxing Day, police have confirmed.
The Orchard Cafe in High Street, Worthing, was targeted at 9.16pm on Wednesday (December 26).
Owners Max and Sarah Pickles were alerted to the incident thanks to an alarm system connected to Max’s phone, which also allowed them to view CCTV footage of the intruder.
The pair, who have run the cafe together for three and a half years, reacted quickly. “I called the police straight away, gave them the details,” said Sarah. “They were here within seconds, it was amazing.”
Thankfully nothing was taken from the cafe but the back window was left damaged, Sarah said.
“We had taken the till out and took everything with us. As it’s Christmas we are quite aware there are a lot of break-ins,” she said.
While the couple would have liked to spend the 27th with their three children, they were forced to spend the day securing the window instead.
Messages of support poured in from customers on the cafe’s social media page and Sarah said: “It was lovely to see so many people supporting us.”
The cafe reopened on Friday but Sarah said the incident had left them worried.
She said: “These break-ins have been going on for well over a year. I know seven businesses in the area that have been broken into in the last two months alone.
“Businesses have spent hundreds and thousands of pounds repairing and replacing things. These things keep happening over and over again.
“We are kind of helpless as businesses to do anything about it. We just have to wait for it to happen and these people to be caught.”
Police confirmed that officers attended Orchard Cafe after the break-in, adding that there was no trace of a suspect and that nothing had been reported stolen.
The same night, Aunty Bunny’s Hut in Montague Street was broken into, police confirmed.
A tablet and an unknown quantity of alcohol were believed to have been stolen, police said.
Barry Antrobus, who owns the recently-opened restaurant along with Isabel Gonzalez, said four doors were badly damaged and the area was left looking ‘like a lorry had come through it’.
“I was so mad,” he said, adding that repairing the damage is likely to cost thousands of pounds.
“This is our livelihood. We have other financial obligations we have to meet as well, we still have staff to pay,” he said, adding that incidents such as this could ‘destroy’ a small business.
Police also confirmed that Picasso restaurant in Ann Street was broken into between 5pm on Sunday, December 23, and 10.30am on Boxing Day – though nothing was reported stolen.
However police were not able to confirm whether the three incidents were linked.