THIEVES broke into a jazz venue and stole thousands of pounds in cash and other valuables.

The burglary took place at the Verdict Cafe Bar in Edward Street, Brighton, between 11pm on Sunday, April 24, and 7.30am on Monday, April 25.

Owner John Easterby (pictured) has told The Argus he feels "violated" after about £4,000 cash was taken, as well as a laptop and a camera. But he refuses to let the crime get him down and said there have been countless messages of support as he pieces his life back together.

He said ladders were leant against the back wall of the venue and the culprits had forced open a fire escape to get in.

The 55-year-old said: "When I opened my office door it was a complete bomb site. They had also managed to get in through a skylight. It's quite a dangerous and dedicated thing to do.

"It has been a real shock. At first I dismissed it as a bad luck but the more I think about it I think we may have been targeted.

"The feeling of violation is palpable."

Forensics officers at the scene found strands indicating the thieves were wearing gloves and black trainer footprints on a sofa where someone had clambered in through the skylight.

Mr Easterby added: "If I'm being pessimistic, then maybe it's someone I have looked in the eyes and spoken to at some point.

"But I'm hoping it was someone just down on their luck and saw a ladder and the opportunity.

"It has been a topsy-turvy emotional response. The support I have had from everyone has been overwhelming. I have been getting so much goodwill and it has blown me away."

PC Ella Graham-Scott said: "If anyone saw something suspicious overnight on Sunday we would very much like to speak with them."

Email or call 101 quoting reference 171 of 25/04.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit