POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a spate of burglaries and attempted burglaries on Lyme Regis businesses.

Thieves struck on Sunday night, and burgled Aroma Cafe on Church Street and Rinky Tinks ice cream parlour on the seafront.

They also attempted to break into Jane’s cafe and Herbie’s kiosk, but didn’t manage to get into the premises.

Thieves stole around £80 from the till of Rinky Tinks, plus around £120 of beach hut deposit money kept there.

The cost of replacing the till is expected to cost another £250.

Lucinda Cliff, owner of Rinky Tinks, said: “We have lost the equivalent of two days’ trading because of it.

“You do wonder if they have seen on the television or read about it in the news, how bad the storms are down here, and they thought: ‘They must be vulnerable at the moment. Let’s get them.’ “It just feels like we are constantly up against it. If it’s not the bad weather it is being burgled, and I just feel like shouting: ‘Give us a break.’ “What little trade we have done over the past few months has now been stolen.”

After getting into the Aroma Cafe, takings from the till and an iPad were stolen.

John Kellas, owner of the cafe, said: “I don’t know why they hit us really.

“They went to a lot of trouble for what was relatively small amount.

“Maybe they used the bad weather as a cover and saw that the emergency services were all in use in West Bay and Bridport because of the storms, so decided to come here.

“It is a real inconvenience to us but we will remain open.”

PC Kirsti Ball said: “At this time, we do not know if it was one person or more than one, and how they moved around. “CSI have attended the locations and our enquiries are continuing.

“It is possible that the premises have been targeted due to the good weather over the weekend which encouraged a lot of people out and therefore the cafes would have had more takings than usual.

“The affected businesses have lost takings during a difficult time of the year, and they have also had to spend out money to repair the damage that has been caused. We would like to remind shops and business owners that cash should not be left in their businesses overnight. While Lyme Regis is a low-crime area, there is no room for complacency. Tills should be emptied overnight and can be left open to show that they are empty.”

To contact Dorset Police about these incidents phone 101 or phone CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.