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Crawley businesses warned over burglaries during Covid-19 pandemic

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Local businesses are being urged to ensure their premises are sufficiently protected during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sussex Police believe there could be an increase in organised acquisitive crime across the county – including burglaries of business premises – and have increased police patrols and proactive targeting of known local criminals.

Two men, charged with stealing £80,000 worth of stock from Currys PC World in Hove, were arrested after a fast-moving intelligence-led operation saw them arrested after a black Audi A4 was stopped by officers on the M23 on March 17. They’ve been remanded in custody to re-appear in court on April. 

Officers are also advising residents to make sure that their valuables are secure, especially as warmer weather may well result in opportunistic crooks taking advantage of properties left insecure.

Last month, a Hailsham man pleaded guilty to burglary in the town and will appear for sentencing on April 14. 

Detective Chief Inspector Alasdair Henry, burglary prevention lead for Sussex Police, said:

“We take burglary very seriously. Staff across the force are working hard to prevent an increase in burglary and we are ready to respond to any spikes in such criminality.

“We are urging business owners to ensure that they have sufficient and robust security features in place and that they are in full working order. Security cameras should be checked and owners need to make sure that any service doors are both secure and locked. Don’t store cash in premises whilst they are closed.

“Owners of high value jewellery are encouraged to ensure it is securely locked away in the house, ideally in a safe or similar secure storage, rather than being left in drawers or cupboards. Residents should ensure that doors to their homes are kept locked, especially overnight, but also when they might be out enjoying their gardens, and that they have measures in place to keep their residence secure.

“It is vital that we all work together to disrupt organised crime and prevent opportunistic burglaries. Our Sussex Police website provides some excellent detailed advice on how to protect your property from crime.

“Please do not hesitate to report suspicious activity to us. This includes reporting people trying to sell items that you suspect are stolen. If you have any information concerning burglary or people selling stolen goods please get in touch with us immediately online or by calling 101. You can also report anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“In an emergency, such as a crime in progress, please dial 999.”

Katy Bourne, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner said:

“It is important to remember at this time that, whilst our police officers are having to provide support to protect the capacity of the NHS, they are still committed to protecting our communities because criminals are not staying at home.

“As many businesses have been forced to close due to the ‘lockdown’, the vacant premises are more vulnerable to being targeted by criminals seeking to make a profit from this pandemic. So, I’m urging business owners to heed the preventative advice that Sussex Police have released today and take simple measures to better protect themselves and their livelihood.

“The police are still there for us when we need them most, so if you see something suspicious or have been a victim of any crime type, please still report.”

You can find crime prevention advice for protecting your business from the inside out and keeping high value items safe at home on the Sussex Police website.

Sussex Police’s Community Message service, In the Know, will keep you posted on latest news in your police district.

Communities can work together to prevent crime. By joining an existing Neighbourhood Watch scheme or becoming a Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator, your community can be stronger together.

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Crawley businesses take out over £90m in loans to survive COVID-19

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Statistics released by the Government have revealed the true extent of lending taken up by businesses across Crawley.

According to a release from the office of Crawley’s MP Henry SMith, businesses across Crawley have benefitted from £92,721,494 worth of loans since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This includes 1,724 Bounce Back Loans worth £51,495,006 and 102 loans at a value of £41,226,488 through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme.

The number is part of the vast number that have been taken out throughout the whole of the south east of England, where a total of 175,946 Bounce Back Loans, worth £5,269,988,799, and 9,026 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, worth £2,154,703,689, have been provided to support businesses across all sectors, protecting jobs and livelihoods.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said;

“This year has been hugely challenging for businesses in Crawley, but these latest figures demonstrate the scale of support that the Government has put in place to protect livelihoods and businesses.

“Never has the Government’s agenda to level up the whole county been so important. I’ll continue to focus on supporting hardworking families across Crawley.”

With cases still rising and worries that more areas across the country may enter tighter restricttions, the Chancellor has also announced that the Government’s Job Support Scheme will be expanded to protect jobs and support businesses required to close their doors as a result of coronavirus restrictions, alongside increasing the cash grants to businesses in England required to shut in local lockdowns to support with fixed costs – worth up to £3,000 per month.

So far, the Government has provided over £200 billion throughout its economic response to coronavirus to support jobs and businesses in the UK.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, commented;

“Our support for businesses and workers has provided a lifeline to employers up and down the country, supporting people to stay in jobs and protecting livelihoods. “We will build on this as we move to the next stage of our recovery through the Winter Economy Plan, which will continue to protect jobs and help businesses through the months ahead.”

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