I'm again looking for feedback, but this is a very difficult one. The request comes from a retailer who has asked that I keep her name out of it, but doesn't mind me telling you that she trades as Slacksbury Food and Wine in Harlow, Essex.

She has been ram-raided twice in the past eight months. This time they got the safe and the cigarettes. Her landlord, the council, is doing a botched job on the repairs - cutting corners, leaving the odd bit of reinforcement out here and there. There's a dodgy roof, too. No money, they say.

Normally, I would recommend shouting about this - perhaps getting a story in the local paper. But, as she points out, why broadcast your vulnerability so even the faint-hearted criminal might have a go?

She has written to her MP and asked her council for at least a holiday from the rent (that seems reasonable) and had the crime prevention officer down to have a look around. What else can she do?

I put her in touch with Lawyers For Your Business which will give her a free half-hour of advice to explore whether and where there is legal liability, and with Business Link

which may help her to compose a strong letter to the council.

Although I feel as though we are clutching at straws here - is there anyone else who has faced a similar situation and what was the outcome? It really was all I could offer her.