A HAMPSHIRE business bracing itself for the potential impact of coronavirus has been targeted by thieves.

Burglars broke into Bashley Manor Tearooms in Bashley Cross Road, New Milton, and made off with money from the til.

The business is one of several in a courtyard next to the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum, which is preparing to open a major extension.

The cafe is one of at least two properties which are thought to have been burgled in the early hours of Tuesday.

General manager Suzanne Moss said: "When I arrived at 7am I noticed that one of the shop windows in the courtyard was open and that the lights were on in the tearoom. The til was on the floor, with the draw wide open.

"Nothing was smashed or broken but they took all the money from the til."

Like thousands of other businesses across the country the tearoom is facing a potential loss of custom caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the social distancing advice issued by the government.

Suzanne said: "It's surprising that anyone would do this with everything else that is going on. It's worrying that anyone would stoop so low.

"All we had left were a few 10p pieces so we asked customers to bring change with them instead of trying to pay with notes."

Daily Echo:

A message posted on social media added: "We are sorry to inform everyone that in the early hours of the morning the whole complex was broken into.

"The tearooms will still be open but we ask if anyone has change to bring it with them as that would be helpful."

The exact money taken is not known.

The business is only a few steps from the museum opened by the legendary Sammy Miller in the 1990s.

As reported in the Daily Echo, managers are hoping to open a two-storey extension to the nationally-renowned museum next, with the official opening scheduled for May.

A "very special” VIP has been invited to perform the ceremony - but his or her identity is being kept under wraps for the time being.

The tearoom break-in has been reported to Hampshire Constabulary, which did not respond to a request for comment.