Pubs and restaurants have been told to reinforce their defences during the coronavirus lockdown as they face becoming a target for thieves.
The Bank, a pub near Bolton, put out a stark warning on social media this week after it was broken into, along with four neighbouring premises.
Thieves were after alcohol and cash from charity collection boxes.
A school in Essex and a hotel in Shropshire have also been targeted, with catering equipment and thousands of pounds’ worth of food stolen.
Jonathan Ratcliffe, managing director of security specialist CCTV.co.uk, said that with the lockdown announced suddenly on Friday night, many landlords or restaurant owners might have failed to properly secure their premises.
“Many pubs and restaurants closed quickly on Friday. The combination of a very stressful situation and financial worries, security might have been overlooked.
“Because all premises are closed and empty, it’s easy pickings for those looking to profit from this time of hardship. Our advice is clear – reinforce all security measures before you are targeted,” he said.
Mr Ratcliffe advised operators to consider the following steps to protect their premises:
– Reinforce hard deterrents such as considering boarding up back doors, cellar entrances and weak points
– Take all alcohol out of view, perhaps into the cellar or off site
– Remove all charity cash boxes
– Leave tills empty and open
– Check alarms and CCTV are working
– Draw curtains and secure inner doors
– Add signage to windows to say you have removed all alcohol, food and cash from the premises