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Fears for city's independent businesses as Sheffield's newest micropub is vandalised

The Ecclesall Ale Club had only been open for two weeks when it was targeted by vandals in the early hours of Sunday morning
The Ecclesall Ale Club had only been open for two weeks when it was targeted by vandals in the early hours of Sunday morning
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A fourth Sheffield micropub has been hit by criminals, as landlords fear raiders may be deliberately targeting the city's independent businesses.

Sheffield's newest micropub, the Ecclesall Ale Club had only been open for two weeks when vandals targeted the business by throwing a slab of concrete at its front door at 3.30am on Sunday, December 3.

They did not gain access to the premises, however.

Owner, James Eardley, says it will cost around £600 to replace the glass in the door - money he says the start-up business can ill-afford to pay so soon after opening.

"We've only just opened so it's a real shame. The CCTV shows two males run from across the road and throw some concrete through the door. It's not clear whether they wanted to just break the glass, or were hoping to break-in," said James adding: "It's taken so long to get everything looking nice that it's pretty devastating."

It is the fourth micropub to be broken into or vandalised in the last three weeks. The Bar Stewards, also on Ecclesall Road, was broken into and had a St Luke's charity box stolen on November 14. The Bar Stewards in Gibraltar Street had cash, stock and music equipment stolen during two burglaries on November 26 and November 28 and The Itchy Pig had its front door smashed with a slab of concrete in the early hours of December 1.

James believes those responsible may be deliberately targeting the city's independent pubs and businesses.

"It does seem people are targeting micropubs or independent businesses because they think we're more likely to keep money on the premises or not have as tight security - both of which aren't true.

"I can't really sleep properly at night because I'm worrying about getting a call from the alarm company to say we've been broken into. You speak to other pub-owners and they say this sort of thing is to be expected at Christmas-time, which is pretty shocking really."

James has served the city's craft beer drinkers for years through the brewery he runs with his dad, The Brew Foundation, whose beers are a popular fixture in pubs in Sheffield, Derbyshire, Stoke, Manchester, Cheshire and beyond.

The Ecclesall Ale Club is his newest venture, and boasts a selection of 130 different bottles of beer, which can be bought to drink-in or take-away. At any one time, the micropub offers eight draught beers, five keg beers as well as a selection of gins and wines.

South Yorkshire Police were unavailable for comment.

Call the force on 101 with information.