BUSINESS owners are on high alert after a series of late night break-ins at premises.

Burglars broke in to Oyster House, in Severalls Lane, Colchester, at 11.48pm on Friday.

The crooks forced entry through the front door before smashing a security door.

They left the premises at 12.08am on Saturday, making off with a collection of electrical items from two businesses inside.

It is understood a number of other businesses were also broken into on Severalls Industrial Estate on Thursday evening.

Katie Skingle, of KAT Marketing, which is part of a recently formed steering group to try to improve the north Colchester business area, said: “It’s awful to hear of businesses being put under pressure by crime against their property, especially when its so close to home.

“Perhaps one of the ways we boost security across the whole of Severalls and the surrounding areas is with a potential Business Improvement District.

“A proposed Northern Businesses BID proposal hopes to go out to feasibility and consultation shortly, in order for all businesses to work together and potentially put further protection in place.”

Councillor Gerard Oxford (Ind, Highwoods) added it was “disappointing” for business and said: “We will be planning to ask the police to come in and see whether they can offer any advice.”

About an hour after the Colchester raid on Friday, three businesses in Thorpe were also broken in to.

Catch PR, Innovative Creations and Bloomsbury Care, in Station Road, were all targeted.

Owner of Catch PR Gavin Nicoll said: “CCTV shows three people breaking into the three premises based here by the railway station.

“They came in and looked for petty cash, phones, iPads and that sort of thing, “They got away with everything which was portable and made their getaway. They knew exactly what they were doing.

“There is a reinforced glass door which will now need to be replaced. It is not just about what they take, it is the damage which has been caused and the inconvenience of that.

“It has a knock-on effect to us because we want to put all our efforts into our work and customers but we can’t do that.”

At around 1.30am on Saturday, Pappus House, in Tollgate, was also broken into.

Essex Police are investigating whether the series of raids are connected.

Burglars targeting high-end computer equipment have been hitting businesses across Essex and Suffolk over the past two months.

In total the burglars are thought to have targeted more than 15 premises and taken upwards of £100,000 worth of equipment, including expensive Apple Mac computers.

It is not known whether the latest incidents are linked to these previous break-ins.

Any witnesses to the raids or anyone with information should contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.