Burglars break into West Hampstead shops through tiny windows and gaps

A spate of cat burglaries that have seen intruders squeeze through tiny windows or gaps at the back of shops in West Hampstead have left owners concerned for their livelihoods.

Three businesses in the area were burgled within a week in crimes that saw the intruders gain entry through small openings.

Beauty salon Beauty Blossom in Mill Lane had �70 stolen from its cash register and an iPad taken from the shop at 4am on Saturday, February 18, after an intruder gained entry through a back window.

Afe Tam, a partner at the salon which opened six months ago, said: “We feel very sorry that this has happened. We thought that this was a quiet neighbourhood when we moved in, so we didn’t expect anything like this to occur.”

Another attempted burglary took place in Mill Lane 20 minutes later by a suspect described as 5ft 9inches tall and wearing a black hoodie and grey trousers, but it was abandoned when an alarm went off.

Four days later more than �600 worth of power tools were stolen from a storage shed in the back courtyard of The Wet Fish Cafe in West End Lane in the early hours of Wednesday, February 22 after an intruder gained entry through a small opening.

Andre Millodit, 41, owner of The Wet Fish Cafe, said police told him about a rise in similar incidents over the past few months.

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His cafe has been targeted on a number of occasions, although this is the first time it has been burgled in the last few years.

Other local businesses expressed concern the problem has been growing for some time.

Feeni Krishna, 50, owner of Trends Wine Merchants, in Mill Lane, was burgled two years ago and knows of several other businesses nearby affected.

It has left him worried about what he will find when he opens his business each morning.

“I’m not sure if anything will be left on the shelves,” he said. “The last time this happened they took everything. If it happens again what am I going to do? This is my livelihood.”

Police have visited businesses and advised them not to leave expensive goods on show, to turn on alarms, secure premises, and empty cash registers each night.

A spokesman said: “Camden Police is cracking down on burglary. We understand that it can be financially costly and emotionally devastating for victims and their families.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Camden Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.