A BUSINESSMAN says he may be forced to close his shop after a burglary.

Allen and Sons in Gloucester Road, Brighton, was broken into through its front door in an overnight raid.

Around £70 in cash was taken from the till and a small safe containing customers’ items was removed from a back room.

Owner Simon Allen, whose business repairs phones, tablets and shoes and cuts keys said: “We’re in danger of closing down. We can’t afford it.

“Phones, watches, and worst of all, items with sentimental value to our customers were all gone.

“Despite all of the items being taken, we have also lost a day’s trade for forensics and police to sort everything out.

“It just makes you feel defeated and almost empty.”

The neighbouring Pond Pub, also in Gloucester Road, was also targeted by burglars on the same night.

A safe was broken into and its contents stolen. Cash was also taken from the till.

It is believed burglars broke in via a first-floor window.

Mr Allen, 37, said: “Big corporations companies can afford the loss, but independent businesses like ours and The Pond can’t.

“Our policy is to always put customers’ items in the safe and unfortunately the thieves took the safe so it’s quite hard to prove what was in it when they have actually taken it.”

The burglary has left Mr Allen planning the business’s immediate closure if the insurance will not pay out.

It has been open for 18 months.

The break-in has been a huge setback to Mr Allen, who has a partner and four children.

He described the support of the North Laine community as “fantastic” and has praised his customers who he said had been very understanding.

The break in at Allen and Sons happened overnight between 5.30pm on May 30 and 8.15am on May 31.

The burglary at The Pond happened overnight on May 30.

Mr Allen believes he was targeted by a “professional firm who knew what they were doing”.

A police spokesman said the two burglaries were not being linked but urged witnesses to contact them on 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk.