FRUSTRATED businesses have issued a warning after brazen thieves struck FOUR times in three months.

Companies in and around Colchester have been targeted by two raiders who were caught on CCTV breaking into the buildings and escaping with expensive computers.

Company owners are warning firms in the digital design industry to keep their hardware safe as thousands of pounds worth of business has been lost.

Ben Green, co-founder at web design company This is Fever, has been left £18,000 short after suffering two break-ins in Chapel Street North, Colchester. A total of 11 Apple Mac desktops were stolen.

He said: “I was burgled twice, once on February 20 and again on April 7.

“I’m trying to get a campaign going to raise awareness as this business sector has been thriving here and I’m warning people of this operation.

“They are targeting companies with high-end computers.”

Mr Green has filed a complaint with Essex Police having passed over two names of suspects in February as well as a car registration number.

Since handing over his evidence, White Space Creative Solutions in Commerce Way, Colchester, was hit on March 9.

On May 12, Indigo Ross in Sudbury suffered the same fate. All the businesses were targeted in the same way by two men, and expensive computers were stolen at Indigo Ross.

Philip Roper,m anaging director at Indigo Ross, said: “It’s affected us immensely. We are a small independent graphic design, web design and print company, and I find it desperately frustrating these kinds of people feel they can just take things from you.

“They really are the scum of our society.”

Luckily nothing was stolen from White Space Creative as none of the computers were moveable.

Mr Green believes the incidents are linked, however, police say they have

no evidence to confirm this.

He said in his complaint: “Since the second incident I have been struggling with my sleep, waking up several times most nights in panic.

“I have to log in to my CCTV remotely until I am satisfied I am worrying unduly.

“My staff are now extremely scared and understandably refuse to work alone in evenings.”

His company has insurance, but excess payments are required.

He said: “Taking into account the excess, business interruption and additional cost of security, I am around £18,000 down.

“For a small business this is a considerable sum and a near instant drain on our direct cashflow.”

Chief: ‘We’re still working to catch thieves’

A POLICE chief has reassured business owners his team 
will continue to track down thieves. 

Chief Insp Rob Huddleston, District Commander for Colchester, apologised to Ben Green but said there is not enough evidence to suggest the incidents are linked. 

He said: “Colchester is a creative town and it thrives on independent businesses like This is Fever. 

“We appreciate how devastating crimes against small businesses can be, both in terms of operation and the emotional impact, and I can only apologise if Mr Green feels he has been let down. 

“We work our hardest to keep victims of crime up-to-date with their investigations and I have been in contact with Mr Green personally about his concerns and have appointed a detective inspector to oversee this investigation.”

Mr Green was provided with an update by his investigating officer. 

Mr Huddleston added: “We will continue to progress all lines of viable inquiry, including further CCTV and information driven by intelligence. 

“At the time of this burglary, officers carried out a thorough search of the area for traces of the suspects but were unsuccessful.

“Since we have spoken with other businesses including the nearby Iceland about CCTV possibilities, circulated the images internally across the county, and reviewed other business burglaries in the area.  

“While we are keeping an open mind, there is no clear evidence to link this investigation to similar crimes in the area.”

Call 101 with information quoting the reference 42/54747/19