A Brighton store owner is battling with his local council which has demanded he removes expensive security shutters which protect his business from vandals and burglars.

Chris Dancey, who runs Supernews newsagents in the Fiveways area of the city, installed the £3,000 shutters four years ago after suffering a spate of break-ins and smashed windows.

However, Brighton and Hove Council planning bosses have cited a rule which labels the shutters ‘detrimental to the character’ of the shop’s area.

Chris has received the backing of other traders who, despite having similar security measures in place, are yet to hear anything from the council. So far, more than 500 signatures have been collected for a petition supporting Chris in his fight.

Chris told C-store: “I installed the shutters after a particularly vicious sledgehammer break-in four years ago. The shop had been broken into twice before that and we have suffered vandalism including a brick in a plastic bag being chucked through the window. My manager was upstairs at the time of the last burglary so the shutters are not just to protect my business but also my employees.

“I spoke to the police after the last burglary and they said the only way I would stop that kind of attack would be to install solid metal shutters. I will go to prison before I take them down.”

The council has said it will reconsider the issue if Chris resubmits his application highlighting the problems he has endured.