Food-focused crooks are targeting takeaway stores by smashing windows and helping themselves to snacks and cash, the Milton Keynes Citizen can reveal.
Over the past few weeks ten outlets have suffered smash and grab raids in Wolverton and New Bradwell.
In each case the owners faced hefty repair bills to replace broken windows and doors.
Wolverton has suffered eight such attacks in six weeks in and around Stratford road, enraging the owners and the local community.
The stores are Danyals Grill, Peri-Peri Original, Cafe Balti, Euro Halal, Namji, Akasaka, Royal Sweet and Zouk Lounge.
The shops in New Bradwell to be burgled are the Caffè Verde and Napoli Fish Bar.
Many of the owners now want to put shutters up to make their Victorian premises more secure.
But the council will not allow it because they are in a conservation area and must stick to the original windows and doors.
Hasnat Tanveer, whose family runs Danyals Grill, is fighting for the rules to be changed.
“In my experience, the planning offices are more concerned about the conservation guidelines which trump our safety concerns,” he said.
He added: “Not only do we have to face the loss of goods stolen, but we must also replace the doors and windows that the thieves break.
“This is going out of our pockets and not the council's, so when will our security be taken seriously?”
Hasnat said fellow traders inside the conservation are now living in fear of being broken into.
"The conservation act is to preserve the look of the area as well as keep robbers away; ironically, the shops that do have external shutters are the ones who are safe and can sleep well at night. For us, and others around us, we are constantly in fear of it happening again."
Hasnat raised the matter with Wolverton town council this week, but was told he must take his concerns to MK Council, which deals with conservation matters.
He said: "I am now waiting for the council to get back, but I do so with little hope I see no relief when I mention the conservation rules and guidelines, and it has been demonstrated that shutters are a true deterrent to thieves."