CONCERNED businesses forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic are taking extra security precautions in a bid to deter vandals and looters during the lockdown.

The Government has introduced stringent measures to help mitigate the increasing threat of Covid-19.

These included confining people to their homes and restricting them to only essential journeys, like going to the supermarket and collecting prescriptions, or to exercise.

Restaurants, bars and cafes have also been forced to close and thousands of businesses have shut up shop for the duration of the outbreak.

Police have been given extra powers to ensure the public follows the rules to stay at home.

But some traders have taken steps to safeguard their businesses themselves amidst fears they will be targeted by hooligans and opportunist thieves.

The large windows of the McDonald’s restaurant, in Pier Avenue, Clacton, has been covered with pieces of chipboard wood.

The fast-food restaurant has fallen victim to smashed windows on numerous occasions and has taken action to stop a repeat performance, especially when witnesses to the vandalism will be minimal.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

The Pavilion Bowl, which houses the Armstrong’s Restaurant, has decided to follow suit also using wooden boards to cover its glass doors and windows.

Mary Newton, Tendring Council’s portfolio holder for business and economic growth, said she understood business leaders’ concerns.

She also called on parents to better educate their children on the negative impact of committing the crimes.

“My feeling is Clacton is not a ghost town,” she said.

“The young people of Clacton, by and large, are a credit to their upbringing behaving in an orderly manner.

“We have little pockets of youngsters who seem to be at war with themselves and disrespectful of the area in which they live.

“Please, can I urge their parents and guardians to explain what they are destroying, in their search for attention, can be the start of an unfulfilling life for them and undue expenditure for the owner of the damaged property.”

Thieves have taken the wheels of a white van which had been parked at Asda supermarket in Clacton and now all that remains is the abandoned shell of the vehicle.

Yobs have also been caught on CCTV prowling the pavements of the coastal town during the middle of the night and kicking wing mirrors off cars.

In Colchester, at least two popular pubs have also boarded up their windows in a bid to deter vandals and burglars.

The Kings Arms in Crouch Street and the Rovers Tye in Ipswich Road are using the tactic while they are not allowed to open.

Colchester Council public safety boss Mike Lilley said businesses had to be careful while they were closed.

“People will do what they can to protect their property,” he said.

“Burglars might think cash or stock is left behind but that is obviously not going to be the case. Landlords will have taken all of that out before they closed.

“There have been issues with burglaries in the town centre and desperate drug users will do what they can to get money.”

Mr Lilley said there had been an increase in people flouting lockdown regulations in recent days.

“Things started off well but the police and our zone wardens have noticed more and more people around and more cars on the roads,” he said.

“Patrols will be increased and people will be spoken to if they are not following the rules.

“If we want to get on top of this virus then people need to respect what they are being told and that is to stay inside their homes as much as possible.”