OWNERS are hitting back after a spate of family businesses were targeted in burglaries across Hythe, with thousands of pounds stolen by thieves.

Sargant's Butchers, Chip N Tails, The Fountain Court Hotel and The Blackfield Bakers have been subjected to break-ins over the last month.

The hotel had its fruit machine, which held over £1,000, stolen just before 1am on February 1.

Leaseholders Sinead and Stephen Mitten are "devastated".

Sinead said: "I had just come back from having major surgery, and when I found out about the break-in, I was a mess."

Stephen said: "We can't sleep anymore, we constantly check the CCTV. We're devastated."

The Blackfield Bakers were then targetted after thieves smashed their front window and stole £70 from the till, on February 7.

Owner Chris Wall labelled it as "very demoralising".

Three days later, Chip N Tails had £1,500 stolen from their safe.

Owner Ron Besant said it has affected their whole family.

He said: "My wife is really upset. It seems to be the same thing happening in all the shops."

Sargant's Butchers, which has been owned by Steve Taylor for 23 years, had £200 stolen and the front door smashed.

Steve said: "I walked into the shop and found the front door smashed and the till broken.

"It is showing the modern day life. I'm fed up with it, this is our livelihood. It isn't acceptable."

It is unknown whether the incidents are linked or not.

Hampshire Constabulary were contacted for comment.