A father-of-two says he feels ‘broken’ after theives stole £12,000 of equipment from his store in East Worthing on Sunday night.
Steve Coombes who owns The Grow Room in Brougham Road, had to tell his wife they can no longer afford to go on holiday this Christmas.
“I just came into work on Monday morning and saw the outer back door had been opened from the inside.
“My security was pretty good but someone’s just found a little niche or weak spot to get in.”
The shop sells equipment for hydroponics – a method of growing plants without soil.
Steve, 50, thinks the thieves climbed down the fire escape and jumped between the inner and outer doors to his shop, smashing open the inner door to get in.
“They then poceeded to strip the shop of £12,000 to £14,000 of equipment.
“What they had not actually moved was racked up by the back door ready to be moved.”
Some of the items taken were worth up to £400 each and included growing chemicals. spray controls, and water and air pumps.
He said that he has only been able to keep the shop open by maxing out his credit cards and getting help from suppliers.
But the incident has also had heartbreaking ramifactions for Steve’s family.
Steve said: “I had my wife in tears when I told her we would not be able to take our holiday this Christmas.
“It has broken me.”
They had been planning to visit family in Gambia.
Steve said: “I have been born and bred within two minutes of the shop.
“Everbody in the town knows me.”
A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area or who has any information about the incident is asked to report online at https://sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101 quoting serial 262 of 16/10.”