A spate of window breakages down a busy Boston lane has left businesses increasingly concerned and considering their future.
Over the past two-and-a-half months several businesses down Emery Lane have found their windows damaged - with the Bear House Cards and Gifts struck seven times.
Cracks have also appeared on Animal Magic pet shop, the Renew charity furniture shop, Dunelm Mill and others.
Richard White, at the Bear House which has been open for 20 years, said: “ We’ve written off between two and three months profit replacing the windows, and at the minute we’re working for nothing because the shop doesn’t make that much money.
“This is getting to the point where we have to consider whether or not to stay.”
He said the incidents had been reported to police, adding that the latest incident left blood samples which were collected for analysis.
We’ve written off between two and three months profit replacing the windows, and at the minute we’re working for nothing because the shop doesn’t make that much money.Richard White, the Bear House
He said he hadn’t seen a spate similar to this since 15 years ago when four or five windows were broken.
Karen Sherriff, deputy manager at Renew, which has been open since February said this was the first incident since they moved in, but added a window had had to be repaired prior to that.
She said: “It’s not fair really, we’re just a charity and now we have got to pay for that damage”
Sue Fisher, manager at Animal Magic, said: “I’ve been here for 25 years, and I have had enough. It really does make you want to give up.
“You’re scared to come into work because you don’t know what you’re going to find when you get there.”
Many of the windows are special 8.8mm thick glass, which makes it difficult to break through, however, the impacts are leaving large spiderweb cracks.
Even shops, which haven’t been hit are concerned over the incidents and how they make the lane look.
Pulse and Cocktails has a shutter which it closes every night, but manager Annette Watt said the sight of broken windows could put people off going down there to do their shopping.
It is believed the incidents mainly occur on a Saturday evening or Sunday morning, however, businesses do not feel they are protected enough after saying they had been told CCTV along the lane no longer works.
A spokesman for Boston Borough Council confirmed the camera half way along Emery Lane could not be replaced at ‘reasonable cost’ when the system was modernised in 2013.
However they said ‘new, improved cameras’ do cover both ends of Emery Lane.
The old CCTV camera was left in place to act as a deterrent.
The spokesman added however, that The Standard’s contact was the first they had been made aware of regular vandalism.
Following the publication of the story in Wednesday’s paper Insp Manning, the Community Policing Inspector for Boston said: “We are investigating reports of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.
“Officers are reviewing hours of CCTV to try and identify the offenders.
“We do not believe any business is being deliberately targeted, but consider this to be mindless vandalism probably fuelled by alcohol.
“We are working with our partners to get extra CCTV coverage for the area. We are doing everything we can to identify those responsible.”