A FLORIST told how she has grown so tired of thieves breaking into her shop she has started to sleep there overnight.
Flowers by Karon, in Haven Road, Canvey, has been the victim of a number of burglaries and attempted break-ins over recent years.
Owner Karon Gorman, who lives on the island, now sleeps inside the store up to three times a week in a bid to protect her custom-made funeral wreaths and wedding bouquets.
Miss Gorman said: “We had lots of attempts a little while ago.
“If they got in, they would wreck the wreaths and I sometimes wouldn’t have time to redo them in the morning as if the funeral was at 10am, the family would want them by about 8am.
“If we have a lot of wreaths in then I will sleep in the shop guarding them.
“I just clear a space on the floor and sit there.
“You’ve just got to do it. It is just a sign of the times.”
Miss Gorman said she once witnessed would-be thieves flee after spotting her inside the store.
She previously spent £400 on an emergency call out to get her shop boarded up after a break-in and has been through four front doors in the past two years- despite having CCTV cameras and a burglar alarm installed.
Her comments come after two gunmen wearing balaclavas attempted to rob Winter Gardens Post Office, in Central Avenue, Canvey, on Tuesday.
They left empty-handed after the brave cashier refused to hand over the contents of the till.
Other business owners on the island have also expressed concerns about crime on the island.
In January a robber armed with a handgun stole hundreds of pounds from the Nisa Freshways store, in Third Avenue, Canvey.
Robert Palmer, owner of Back 2 Bed, in Long Road, said he is concerned about the lack of police on the island.
He said: “Businesses are always worried about who is going to be next.”
Heath Hiller, of The Bay Cafe in Western Esplanade, believes Canvey is seen as an easy target.
She said: “Canvey is being targeted by people off of the island because they know there are no police here. It is definitely a worry.”