SMALL businesses are paying the price after raiders smashed their way in to almost a dozen firms across a single night.

The burglars struck in a series of break-ins targetting businesses across the Colchester borough, stealing thousands of pounds worth of equipment including computers and cameras.

The raids were carried out overnight on Wednesday.

One of the firms targeted was Mosaic Publicity, based in Oyster House, in Severalls Business Park, Colchester.

Karen Ainley, chief executive, said: “It’s such a horrible feeling when you see the amount of damage these people do when they smash their way into your premises.

“Many of the creative businesses targeted are small companies who have lost Apple computers and DSLR cameras, which they need in order to do their jobs.

“Right now, during this coronavirus pandemic, everyone is fighting hard to stay in business so it’s a terrible blow for those affected.

“We have been more fortunate than most because not much was taken but we want these thieves stopped before they do any more damage or cause any more disruption to people’s livelihoods.”

A spokesman for another targeted business, Blank Space marketing agency, in Langham, said 11 companies were hit.

Three men forced their way in by smashing through a glass door.

“From our CCTV and speaking to other companies, we believe they were driving a white Ford Mondeo,” he said.

“Police have said they are a group looking for Apple products, selling them off to order abroad.

“It’s hassle, especially when you just start to get up and running again and this happens.”

He added: “They took an I-Mac, keyboards, mouses and two cameras.

“We’ve been here since July, so just under one year.”

Anyone with information about the raids can contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.