In an email to Fareham East Councillor Tom Davies seen by The News, a Fareham police inspector confirmed that burglaries had been reported in early December with ‘a further spate in early January’ and that names had been put forward to the police but there was ‘no evidence to support these accusations’.
It also described incidents where people had gone to the homes of those thought to be the perpetrators and threatened them and that there ‘was an arson incident last week involving one of the families’.
Cllr Davies said: ‘I understand the frustration people and shop owners must be feeling but I would urge people not to take the law into their own hands and let our capable police officers do their job.’
‘Any further incidents should be reported to the police as soon as possible.’
One of the business owners, who wished to remain anonymous, told The News: ‘I was targeted a couple of weeks before Christmas and they did a lot of damage.
‘It could have easily finished me off and there have been five other businesses which are family-run that have been hit in the last few weeks and it can really affect us.
‘I have only started advertising again recently because I was scared the people might come back. The police needed to have reacted quicker and then it may have stopped more businesses getting targeted.’
In regards to members of the public taking the law into their own hands, the firm’s owner added: ‘I think people feel driven to do it because there is not enough police to do patrols which is not their fault either.’
Razor Sharp Barbers in Miller Drive was broken into at the beginning of January and had to close for a day while the door that had been smashed was repaired.
Owner Matt Staker and Dom Valente told The News that cash had been stolen as well as charity tin and iPads from the walls in the hi-tech salon.
Matt said: 'We considered putting up shutters but it costs thousands so we think we will give it another go.
'Hopefully it is all getting sorted out now.'
Cllr Davies added: ‘I’ve been really disappointed to learn of and see the break-ins in and around Fareham lately.
‘I’ve spoken to our local police force and urged them to step up patrols and I hope they find the person or persons responsible for this. I’ve also spoken to our Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane and asked him if additional resources can be assigned to Fareham to nip this quickly in the bud.
‘We owe it to our small businesses to make sure they are able to operate without fear of break-ins and I sincerely hope that this issue can be rectified quickly.’
Insp Sarah Nicholson said: ‘Between December 3 and 24 2018 we received nine reports of businesses being broken into. These reports relate to the town centre, Highlands, and Park Gate areas of Fareham. Items including cash tins and cash were taken.
‘Between January 2 and 14 2019 we received four further reports of businesses being broken into in the town centre and Highlands areas. Cash and cash tills was taken.
‘We are continuing to carry out enquiries to establish if any of these incidents are linked, including reviewing CCTV and carrying out additional patrols. These investigations are ongoing.
‘We are aware of speculation on social media relating to these reports, but would ask that people report any information they have relating to these burglaries to us by calling 101 and asking to speak to Fareham’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, rather than detailing this in a public forum as this could have an impact on our investigations.
‘We routinely communicate with partner agencies to update them on neighbourhood policing issues and it would not be appropriate to comment further on operational detail that is shared with our partners.’