Vandalism harming town’s businesses

Gregor MacLean is pictured at the rear of Winston's Barbers with the boarded window.
Gregor MacLean is pictured at the rear of Winston's Barbers with the boarded window.

NEW BUSINESSES in the town are having to contend with vandalism and break-ins as well as trying to stay afloat, according to one new shop owner.

Gregor Maclean, who runs Winston’s barbers on the West Port says his shop has been targeted twice in three months by people trying to break in.

The latest incident happened on Friday night when the back windows of the shop were smashed by vandals who attempted to force their way into the premises.

And with businesses having to face tough economic times, Gregor says the extra cost of trying to make his building secure is not something new businesses cannot afford.

He told the Arbroath Herald: “It is twice in three months that we have been broken into in the middle of the night.

“It first happened at the beginning in July when a few other places in the West Port were also hit and they managed to get in through the wall.

“And then on Friday somebody decided to smash the office window which I have had to have boarded up.

“It is so frustrating because you put in all of this hard work and then it is forcing you to spend money on something you just don’t expect.

“How can small, new businesses survive like that?”

Gregor is now being forced to install bars on the windows at the back of his shop in a bid to prevent any further incidents.

And with all this extra cost associated with setting up his business he worries that other businesses might not be able to afford it.

He added: “We are getting bars on the windows and there is CCTV outside and inside as well as an alarm.

“There isn’t a lot of cash kept in the shop and things that have been taken are of no great value and are pointless to anybody else.

“Maybe they are doing it because they see shops like this as an easy target.

“New businesses can keep the heart of the community going but things like this put a real downer on it.

“It is hard enough already without all of this added cost and pressure.

“It is just so annoying.”

The High Street and wider town centre areas such as the West Port have undergone major changes in recent years as new businesses come and go.

And currently a town centre regeneration group is trying to improve the area and boost business as well as the number of shoppers and visitors.

And member of the group Councillor David Fairweather knows exactly the costs associated with running a business and coming up against crime.

He said: “I did have my own clothes shop on the West Port area for a number of years and I also experienced people breaking in through the back on three separate occasions.

“One time my shop was ransacked with thousands of pounds worth of stock stolen and you just can’t replace that.

“Money is tight in a new business.

“And I will help Winston’s in any way I can.”

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