TRADERS in a Bognor Regis shopping precinct have called for urgent action on site security after being hit by burglars twice in a week.
Thousands of pounds of damage is believed to have been caused in the latest incident at the Arcade within the town centre, as thieves broke into several stores.
Police were called at around 5am on Saturday morning after at least two shops had seen their front doors forced open, with a quantity of petty cash and laptop computers reportedly being stolen.
Businesses lost more than two hours of trading time on Saturday, as the Arcade was cordoned off while officers searched for forensic evidence.
The latest incident follows a burglary there just a couple of days before in the early hours of Wednesday, February 29. Five premises were broken into including 4Sight, Crumbs, Medusa, Karizma Hair and Beauty and the Niche Cafe.
Roger Clayden, owner of Clayden Jewellery in the Arcade, whose store has also previously been targeted, believed site owners Zurich Assurance should act as a priority on the issue.
He said: “The security just isn’t good enough and it’s something the owners of the Arcade need to sort out. I think the latest break in was just kids, but they have broken doors which cost around £1000 each to replace which is the last thing anyone needs right now.
“Our alarms went off at 5am as the door had been broken at the shop next to us and I had to go down there and deal with it.
“I have CCTV myself and saw they were trying to gain access to my shop as well. Owners Zurich have put some cameras on the roof and locks, but they need to do more. I would welcome more security as it is something that is important.”
Speaking on the first incident, manager of 4Sight, Sarah Brooks, said it felt like the charity “had been hit twice” by cash being stolen and through loss in trading hours.
Her concerns were shared by fellow Arcade shop manager, Paul Wells, owner of Unique Promotions.
He said the second incident came as an unexpected blow in losing further trading hours, believing both enhanced CCTV and greater Police patrols of the town centre were vital for the area.
A Police spokesperson said: “We received a call that the alarms went off at 5am on Saturday morning in the Arcade. There had been an attempt to gain entry to the jewellers and two other shops were also damaged.
The suspects had left a hammer and hats at the site and we are looking at our own CCTV and that of these shops which may well be of use in this case.” If anyone has any information, you can call Police anonymously on 101 quoting incident 272.