THE British Airways i360 on Brighton seafront has been closed since March 20 in line with Government advice surrounding the UK coronavirus lockdown.

It is not known when the viewing tower could reopen.

Following its closure, the building at the foot of the i360, containing the shop and exit area, was cleared of all stock and items.

Several Argus readers asked why this had been done.

The i360 has now confirmed that the building was emptied for security reasons during the lockdown.

The Argus:

A spokeswoman said: “The retail area within the beach building has been cleared for security reasons.

“This is the same prudent measure that businesses across the country have adopted whilst they are temporarily closed in line with Government policy.”

During the lockdown, Sussex Police have urged the owners of empty businesses to “remain vigilant” amid concerns they would be targeted by opportunistic thieves.

Concorde 2 in Madeira Drive was the target of one such incident.

A masked burglar broke down the door to the popular events venue in a brazen daylight raid only two weeks after the lockdown was announced.

The Argus:

CCTV footage showed the looter picking up a brick and smashing through the front door at 10am on March 25 and snatching an iPad before cycling away down Madeira Drive.

Concorde owner Russell Haynes said he was worried buildings closed during the coronavirus lockdown have become a big draw for criminals.

He said after his break-in: “All the pubs and clubs are shut because of the lockdown so maybe we’re a target.

“It didn’t take long, we’ve only been shut for a week so I’m sure others will be at risk.

“I was worried about break-ins but I didn’t think it would happen this quickly.

“The police were really helpful but they didn’t sound surprised.”

Gars Chinese Restaurant in Prince Albert Street has also been ransacked during the lockdown.

A man trashed the site on April 15 before fleeing with wine and spirits.

When the owners returned to the restaurant, they found the thief had laid waste to the building.

Smashed glass panels were left on the pavement at the front of the site where he had smashed his way in.

Inside he had chucked crockery on to the floor and damaged a coffee machine and a hot cabinet.