THREE businesses in the centre of Battle were targeted by burglars over two nights last week.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning (June 7), intruders tried to force their way into In Trim hairdressers in the High Street.
After trying to jemmy open the front door, without success, the gang moved on and managed to force open the door of Gift World, on the Abbey Green.
The thieves stole more than £500 from the safe before fleeing the building via the back door, which had also been forced.
Gary Crabtree, who runs the shop with partner Maureen Clarke, said: “We arrived in the morning to find the front door had been broken and obviously someone had been in through the front door.
“We think they must have had local knowledge because they seemed to have gone straight for the safe, which was hidden.”
Mr Crabtree said the money the intruders had stolen included a significant number of new £5 notes.
The couple had previously owned Shell World, a shop in Kings Road, Brighton.
He said: “There you almost expected it to happen, but you don’t expect it here.
“We have had no trouble before.”
Mr Crabtree added: “Everybody has been friendly afterwards and wishing us well, which is very reassuring and helped restore our faith in human nature a bit.”
He said that Gift World would no longer keep any money in the safe overnight.
Edmund Gow-Moger’s wife Clair owns the building which houses In Trim and the couple live above the hairdressers.
He said: “They had tried to put a crowbar through the door, but luckily we had pretty heavy locks and they did not manage to get the door open.
“We are going to have to have a new door.
“It’s quite a heavy old door too.”
Mr Gow-Moger added: “It just seems to be getting worse in Battle.
“There was the jewellery shop a little while ago too.”
The brazen crooks returned to town the following night and targeted Webbs Garden and Home Store, also in the High Street.
The intruders entered the shop via a skylight, before making off with a number of items, including small torches and penknives, using a ladder to escape.
Police say all three burglaries are linked and are carrying out house to house enquiries and checking CCTV footage in a bid to identify the culprits.
Sergeant Paul Masterson, of Battle Neighbourhood Policing Team, has been offering crime prevention advice to local business.
He said: “Do not leave large amounts of cash to hand and consider additional locks and bolts.
“Anyone who lives in the High Street who hears anything unusual at night should phone 999, not the police station and leave a message, as these are not picked up until the morning.”
Anyone with any information about the three burglaries should call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999.