THERE has been a spike in the number of break-ins reported over the festive period.

Businesses have been targeted in Lyme Regis, as well as vehicles parked at a west Dorset beauty spot. A theft also took place at a premises in Beaminster.

According to Dorset Police, a number of break-ins were carried out at commercial properties in Lyme overnight between Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as several more attempted break-ins.

One business affected is restaurant Red Panda, and its owners say it will remain closed until further notice.

Police say enquiries are being made, which includes checking CCTV and forensics in the area.

A spokesman for Bridport Police said: “We are investigating at least four reports of commercial break-ins and criminal damage in Lyme Regis reported to have occurred overnight between Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

“Businesses targeted included ones in Broad Street, Mill Lane and Marine Parade. Enquiries are ongoing to establish what has been taken and to recover CCTV footage.”

Lyme town councillor Jeff Scowen said the council has agreed to upgrade and extend CCTV in the town.

“It does put people off and is a deterrent,” he said. “It is really sad and I can’t remember a time when there were so many burglaries at one time.From a councillor and resident’s view, I am glad we are on the case to get better coverage.”

On Sunday, police were called shortly before 1pm to The Ollerod, Beaminster, to reports of theft of meat from a cold storage unit.

The theft was alleged to have occurred between 1am and 9am that morning. Police say enquiries are ongoing and no arrests have been made at this stage.

The restaurant, formerly The Bridge House Hotel, was bought by Michelin star chef Chris Staines and Silvana Bandini back in March.

Mr Staines has issued a plea on social media for locals to keep an eye out for anyone selling the stock, which he says was a ‘large amount.’ The restaurant received a huge amount of support in response.

And a number of vehicles were broken into at the weekend, prompting police to issue advice to drivers.

Vehicles were reportedly broken into at beauty spots around the Fishpond area, close to Marshwood and Wooton Fitzpaine, on Sunday.

Officers say most vehicle crime is ‘opportunistic’ and drivers should remove all valuables and lock their vehicles. They have issued the following advice:

n Remove everything of value from the vehicle prior to arriving at your destination - thieves will see you hiding things in the boot, glovebox or door well

n Take items with you where possible

n Wipe off any marks left by your sat nav device

n Where possible, park your vehicle in a well lit area in isolation and with CCTV camera coverage

n Invest in a visible alarm system/security device, including steering and gear stick locks

n Ensure all of your windows and doors are secured and locked before you walk away

n Never leave your keys in the vehicle, even just for a few seconds

n Leave a ‘no valuables in this vehicle’ sign on display

If you have been a victim yourself and have not yet reported it, or witnessed any suspicious behaviour, you are urged to call 101.