A shop which has been plagued by sex work, drug dealing and crime in the area has resorted to conducting its business through a "hatch".
It's an alternative to opening and closing the door to the rough exterior of Yarm Lane, Stockton, with Flavours Sandwiches & Desserts taking no chances.
Customers are said to have been too scared to visit the shop, in an area claimed to be filled with prostitution and drug dealing, TeessideLive reported.
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Owners of the business, who have reported numerous incidents to police, have now taken matters into their own hands and installed a hatch to make their workplace safer.
The owner of the store said: "There's so much crime that goes on in front of our eyes. There are drugs being sold on corners and prostitution. It's not safe.
"We lose business because customers see what goes on and get scared. You see people on drugs swearing and causing problems for traffic."
Some other businesses have even resorted to a buzzer system, keeping their doors firmly locked until a customer rings the bell.
The owners of Flavours Sandwiches & Desserts have since considered moving from the area, but are hoping to stick close to their roots.
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The owners added: "We've been here four years in April we've put so much time and effort into our business and don't want to close down because of other people.
"My husband does 15 hour shifts every day and businesses should not have to have buzzers and lock their doors to feel safe."
It comes as police note the uptick in crime within the area, with 70 unique occasions where "officers have seized drugs from people and made numerous arrests for drug related offences."
Their statement added: "We are aware of reports of sex workers and we are providing support to vulnerable sex workers in the area and working to tackle those who come in to the area to buy sex."
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