THE owner of a photography studio has spoken of her devastation after burglars ransacked her business.
Jen Sanchez says her Southsea-based business Dimples & Daisies has been left ‘paralysed’ after raiders stole thousands of pounds worth of equipment.
Speaking to The News, Ms Sanchez, 32, said: ‘We’ve only been here since January.
‘I feel like the business has been paralysed. I don’t know how to move forward from this.
‘This is really upsetting for us. I’m now too afraid to bring in more equipment to replace what we lost.
‘People around here now feel too afraid to leave their shops.’
During the burglary at the Grove Road South premises – which happened in the early hours of Thursday – burglars stole items including two Apple computers, three high-spec digital cameras, a laptop, an iPad, three chip-and-pin machines and a printer.
Ms Sanchez said the effect of this crime on her business will be massive.
‘It will take us at least a month to be able to get this equipment back,’ she said.
‘We now don’t have a product to sell without being able to edit our photos.
‘We don’t have just a few clients, we have hundreds and to make matters worse July is our busiest season.
‘I’ve got nine people working for me – some of them are mums – so it’s not just me who this affects.
‘I’ve had to send three people home today because they have nothing to do.
‘The money the business makes puts dinner on the table for them too.’
Holly Ramejkis, 30, who runs Dimples & Daisies alongside Jen, said the aim of the studio’s photography is to make women feel ‘incredible’ about themselves.
‘Our photography specialises in women and drama therapy.
‘We want women to come and have their photo taken and feel incredible – our goal is to change people’s views on themselves.’
Ms Sanchez says she was first alerted to the break-in after a nearby resident called to say they saw ‘two men getting into the back of the building’.
Photographs taken by Ms Sanchez show the back door of the premises – leading to a utility room linking two other businesses – smashed in with its lock badly damaged.
The incident comes just over a month after three other businesses at Grove Road South were broken into.
Nick Carter is the owner of Absolute Running, one of the neighbouring shops hit badly by thieves in May.
Mr Carter – whose business is based in Stoke Road, Gosport, said from next week his branch in Southsea will be closed due to the burglary.
He said: ‘It sounds as if the photography studio was cleaned out.
‘When we were hit it cost us between £2,000 and £4,000 to get back on our feet.
‘It was a major drain on our insurance premiums and excess fees.
‘I was very angry when it happened but I was also resigned, because we’ve seen a load of other doors going in nearby.
‘It does make you question whether you actually want to come in and work hard all week just to have someone come in and take it all away.
‘At this stage, we have no choice but to call it a day at Southsea.
‘We’ve now transferred the lease of our location to another running company.’
Anyone with information about Thursday morning’s theft in Grove Road South should call police on 101.