EMPTY shops may not be filled if Wombwell's spate of burglaries continues, a public meeting was told.

There were five burglaries on the High Street last month, Wombwell Safer Neighbourhood PC Simon Fletcher said on Monday, most of which were characterised by entry via the ceiling or rear of the property.

Similar burglaries have been occurring since Christmas and they're concerned that a continuation of this pattern would push up insurance premiums and deter businesses from filling empty units - such as the former Ethel Austin store, Superdrug and Quicksilver units.

Cllr Margaret Morgan said she did not believe shop owners were taking enough responsibility for their own security, regardless of whether they rented or owned the units.

She said: "Common sense hasn't prevailed. Some shops are still leaving cash on the premises even though there are night safes 100 yards away. They want to get it sorted because, if it keeps coming up, people won't want to take on empty shops."

Cllr Dick Wraith added: "We've had it on and off for two years now. If it keeps being flagged up the insurance companies will put up the premiums because it's a hot spot."

PC Fletcher said extra patrols had been put on the High Street and officers have offered free crime prevention assessments to business.

He said: "Certain shops aren't being broken into because they're harder to get into than others but some renting units don't feel its their responsibility to secure the property."