A POPULAR Burnham-on-Sea deli and grocer has been forced to stop displaying fresh fruit and vegetables outside its store following a spate of thefts.

Gardiner-Whites has sold fruit and vegetables outside their store since it opened in 2017 but now the family-run business says it will no longer sell goods outside their shop due to "excessive levels of thefts".

In a post on Facebook the store's owner Rich and Jacqui Gardiner-White, said: "We’re sorry guys we have tried our best to keep selling produce from outside the shop but due to excessive levels of theft from the front we have no choice but to keep all stock inside.

"We have also caught a thief steeling £15-20 worth of cheese today.

"It’s seems like some people have been taking liberty of our good nature for some time now and really disheartens us and makes us wonder why we keep going.

"We are a small family business and for us even the smallest theft really harms our business."

Rich said the spate of thefts has left the couple feeling 'disheartened' and he has reported the thefts to the police.

He said: "It’s not been pleasant, not having the front out will effect our trade.

"Jax and I so disheartened by it all.

"We think the guys who have been stealing cheese etc.. may have been doing it for a long time but we just don't know."

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police, said: "We had a report of cheese stolen from a shop in High Street in Burnham-on-Sea on 29 August at about 2.40pm.

"Two men entered the shop. While one man distracted a member of staff the other took a quanity of cheese from the freezer.

"Police enquiries into the incident are continuing.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact us, quoting reference 5219199989."