Duncan Ray says effect of break-ins on small businesses like Little Fish Market is 'massive'

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

The Little Fish Market in Hove was broken into in the night between Saturday and Sunday. Thieves took bottles of wine and Champagne, a phone and a tablet, which the restaurant used for its bookings. 

Because other businesses - including, but not exclusively restaurants - have been hit in the area, chef owner Duncan Ray said he  assumes that the intruders were trying to get cash, and when they couldn't find it, "they took a dustbin and filled it with bottles of bubbles and premier cru wines and carried that out." 

The chef said the team took the incident in its stride: "We have guests we need to open for so a quick sweep up of the glass and glazer to replace it and a phone call to a wine supplier and it's soon forgotten." 

However the repercussions on his time, finances and morale are another matter. 

"It's just hard," he said. "It's a hard thing to do to small businesses. It's theft no matter who but the impact it makes on a small  like mine is massive."

"It's the impact on my time when I run a business on a skeleton crew of people and the impact financially on.

"The thing is when it's petty crime to that extent, by the time you've paid the excess on an insurance claim it's just not worth your while and they just end up putting your premium up for next year and it ends up costing you even more money." 

As for taking measures to stop the incident from happening again - such as a metal front -  the chef said that while he doesn't want to be a target, the idea doesn't sit well.

"I don't really want to do that."

" I chose the building that I'm in for the fact that I've got dual-aspect glass and that's what gives the restaurant its character. And then suddenly I'm going to what, turn it into fort knox and change the ideal of what my restaurant should be just because of the odd individual that wants to take something from the restaurant."

"I know it's happened but I just think it would spoil it."


The chef said support from local businesses and from the police has been great.  

The three AA-Rosette restaurant’s front was shattered and with it, the many awards and recognition stickers - from SquareMeal, TripAdvisor and Brighton’s Best to Harden’s, Michelin and National Restaurant Awards.

Chef owner Duncan Ray put out a plea on Twitter to have them replaced, and many replied that they would do so immediately.

"That's our advertising window in a way, what we've achieved with a small restaurant, and they broke the glass that had it all on so it just looks bare."

"We want to be able to show off what we've achieved because those accolades and guides support us in what we do." 

Has your restaurant/the restaurant you work at ever been burgled? Share your experiences in the comments ????

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 3rd July 2019

Duncan Ray says effect of break-ins on small businesses like Little Fish Market is 'massive'