Home Office administrators are in the final stages of allocating grants to the successful recipients of its scheme to help tackle small business crime.

More than 1,500 retailers have applied for the grants since the £5m fund was first advertised in August.

Successful recipients can receive up to £3,000 to buy security devices such as alarms, UV markers and security grilles. Groups of businesses, such as parades of shops, can club together to apply for funds of up to £50,000.

These can be used to improve a neighbourhood with landscaping or the installation of additional lighting.

Home Office minister Alan Campbell said the successful recipients would be announced in the next few days.

"Small businesses play a vital role in their communities and I am determined to ensure they get the support they need during these hard economic times," he said.

"I am delighted with the response to the Small Retailers Grants Fund, which was established to provide real support to small businesses where it is most needed."