VANDALS smashed the windows of several businesses in Worthing last weekend, causing thousands of pounds-worth of damage.
Chloe Antiques and the Fish Factory, both in Brighton Road, and Caffe Latte, in Warwick Street, were all targeted. However, police were unable to say whether the incidents were linked.
Dorothy Peters, owner of Chloe Antiques, arrived at her shop last Saturday morning to find her window boarded up.
Mrs Peters said: “I was ankle deep in China. It’s taken nearly a week to clear it up. It was just sheer vandalism. I was absolutely devastated. It’s the last window to be done. Every other window at some point has been broken. It’s just a joke. People don’t feel safe.”
The smashed window was an original, dating back to 1882.
Mrs Peters said there was not enough police on the beat at weekends to deter potential criminals.
She said: “There’s a lack of police on the beat. It’s very worrying. Luckily no-one was injured.
“I would say to these people think of the problems you cause the owners, the heartache you cause.”
She added that the support from the local community had been terrific.
Sharon Clarke, Worthing Town Centre Initiative manager, said the vandalism had cost businesses thousands of pounds in damages.
“It’s disgraceful that people are acting like that,” she said. “Dorothy is often in the shop on her own. To come in and deal with something like that is upsetting. It’s her life. It’s the fear factor, traders don’t know what’s going to happen next.”
Jigar Desai, owner of Caffe Latte, found out that his businesses had been affected last Sunday morning.
He said: “It’s taken more than a week to fix the glass. It’s affected our trade badly because the shop looks closed from outside. We had a bad business interruption because of that.
“I’m not happy about it because it’s the last thing you want some drunk idiot smashing your premises.”
Andy Sparsis, owner of the Fish Factory, said if premises selling alcohol were allowed to stay open later, it would curb this type of vandalism.
“If places were able to open later we wouldn’t have this binge drinking culture,” he said.
Mr Sparsis had his window fixed on the same day it was broken.
He said: “Safety is our primary concern. We are a family restaurant.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on firstname.lastname@example.org quoting serial 28 of 18/10.