Call for increased security after 'devastating' raids

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: L-R: Brian Johnson, Natasha Singh and Stuart Hayns of East London Printers, Igor Voroshilov of Chocdock Ltd, Goolam Ramjan of Proleads and Bob Gittins of London Taxi Parts are worried about the safety of their properties. L-R: Brian Johnson, Natasha Singh and Stuart Hayns of East London Printers, Igor Voroshilov of Chocdock Ltd, Goolam Ramjan of Proleads and Bob Gittins of London Taxi Parts are worried about the safety of their properties.

Businesses are calling for increased security after a spate of break-ins and attempted burgalries.

There are fears that tenants at Acacia Business Centre in Howard Road and the Lancaster Road business centre are being repeatedly targeted by a gang of audacious thieves which are said to be having a "devastating" affect on trade.

Brian Johnson runs East London Printers from a unit in Howard Road where CCTV footage captured men using a van to crash through shutters and steal £10,000 worth of tools.

The 43-year-old said: “In the last week alone various tenants here have had to spend £1,000 on extra security due to recent burglaries.”

He said five days later the same gang returned and targeted other businesses nearby.

“They had the front to bash through a side wall with a sledgehammer and gain entry, but luckily enough the alarm saw them off and they could only make off with minor bits,” he added.

Mr Johnson added that CCTV footage shows thieves making nightly checks to see if gates and shutters are secure.

He says these are the first burglaries he has experienced in the 15 years he has been at the site, which is home to 16 businesses.

Mr Johnson says he and his neighbours are desperate for the offenders to be caught as the burglaries are “making it even more of a struggle to create employment in the community”.

Natalia Gruzina , who runs Seriously Italian Limited, an organic pasta manufacturer in the Lancaster Road business centre, says her business was broken into twice last month.

She also claims 10 other nearby businesses have also been broken into recently.

They are now petitioning landlord Network Rail to increase security.

“We feel the need to voice our story to get some support as we wouldn’t want to relocate our business because of crime,” the 36-year-old said.

“People are suffering very much. I have to pay every time they break the shutter and it cost me over £500 already to have the doors fixed. As small businesses we don’t want this happening.”

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the security issues experienced at some properties close to Leytonstone Overground station in recent weeks, and have been in contact with the police about this matter. Network Rail property, who manage the premises, have already implemented some security changes and will be visiting the affected tenants, to advise them on the additional security measures they can take to better protect the properties they lease going forward.”

Police have been approached for comment.

 

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