A BURGLAR broke into a sweet shop and spent two hours in the pick ‘n’ mix.

The thief made his way through aisles of gumdrops and cola bottles after smashing into Caramella in Brighton just before midnight.

He stole an old computer and emptied a charity collection tin containing £30 from the shop in Kensington Gardens.

Owner Debbie Stoner, 53, said: “He spent a long time with the sweets downstairs too. I don’t know what he was doing down there.

“We’ve got a huge collection of hundreds of different sweets in the basement: liquorice, lemon sherbets, strawberry bootlaces, toffee crumble, fried eggs, rhubarb and custards, you name it.”

News of the theft on Sunday, September 9 follows burglaries at other businesses including Cosy Cottage Cafe in London Road and Purezza in St James’s Street.

Shop assistant Sheena Samson, 71, was first on the scene.

She said: “He was in our sweet shop an awfully long time for just £30.

“Why would you stay so long? And why would you target a sweet shop in the first place?

“It was a mess. But in the grand scheme of things it could’ve been a lot worse.

“He left sweets all over the scales, but he could have chucked them across the floor like he did with our bag of foreign coins accidentally handed in by tourists.

“I think he must have been frustrated because he wasn’t able to get more money.”

Sheena said she had been left rattled by the crime.

“At first I felt OK – you know, I was safe. But later in the day I was a bit shaky. I couldn’t believe it.”

She added: “One girl who works here took off her rings to wash her hands – and he took those too.

“It’s the Alzheimer’s charity tin that gets me. Why would anyone do that?

“It’s caused us a lot of aggro – getting new keys and what have you. And we had to repair one of the displays the burglar targeted.”

The carpenter who mended the display at Caramella said he had been busy repairing damage from other break-ins.

Sheena said: “I know there’s been a spate of burglaries lately. There was a pop-up pick ‘n’ mix in North Street that was targeted, too. And this is the second time we’ve been broken into.”

“There’s nothing you can do. They’re small time players, but they’ll get in one way or another.

“I just find it strange he spent so long with the pick ‘n’ mix.”

Caramella has been a fixture of the North Laine since 1987. Bar a few special sweets, such as sugar mice, it sells most of its confectionary by weight as pick-and-mix.

It also sells old favourites that are no longer widely available, and the shop’s Turkish delight comes all the way from Istanbul.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Anyone who recognises the man in this picture or who has any other information about the incident is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 275 of 09/09.”