RAIDERS have stolen thousands of pounds from businesses across Basildon in a two-month spate of breakins.

Police are investigating 23 burglaries at businesses including the Tesco supermarket in Laindon, social clubs, Goldcrest Day Nursery, in Mons Avenue, Billericay, Longman Motors, in Long Riding, and Moonbridge Project Services, in Luckyn Lane.

All the burglaries happened over a weekend and each time the thieves have taken the safe or money from tills and petty cash boxes.

The Echo reported last month that staff at Basildon and Pitsea Cricket Club, in Mopsies Park, had to work through the night to prepare the clubhouse for an international match after it was ransacked by thieves.

The Winston Social Club, in Northumberland Avenue, has also been targeted.

Secretary, Jim Duffy, said: “They forced open an emergency fire exit and got away with between £500 and £600.

“The police sent dogs in, but the burglar had left. We have CCTV of the incident and believe it was one man.”

Basildon police are using intelligence to map where the thieves might strike next.

They have increased patrols and are speaking to businesses, licensees and Basildon Council.

They are warning traders to be vigilant and to not leave large amounts of cash in their premises overnight.

Between June 27 and 29, raiders broke in to Moonbridge Project Services by smashing the fire door.

They stole the petty cash tin, which contained £125.

On July 20, thieves broke in to Longman Motors by smashing a glass sliding door. They set off the alarmand fled without taking anything.

On July 18, thieves broke in to McColls Newsagents, at the Triangle Centre, in Langdon Hills, and stole the safe, which contained about £125.

Sgt Angie Torrance, at Basildon police station, said: “Police are investigating a series of commercial burglaries in the Laindon, Pitsea and Basildon areas, where cash is being targeted.

“We are briefing officers to patrol areas that could be vulnerable and speaking to Basildon Council and licensees.

“We are also asking traders to consider crime prevention methods, such as alarms, CCTV and property marking.”

If anyone has any information about the burglaries, contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.