A pub landlady has been left facing a significant repair bill after burglars forced their way in to her property and stole cash from the tills.

Deborah O’Grady, owner of O’Gradys pub, in Panfield Lane, Braintree, says she is scared for her family’s safety after the incident, which took place in the early hours of Tuesday.

About £500 was stolen during the break-in, with the business’ fire escape doors also being broken beyond repair.

Ms O’Grady said: “It was 1.35am and I was woken up when my alarms started going off.

“My neighbour across the road and I both looked out our windows at the same time.

“Two guys had jemmied open the fire doors to get in.

“They came into the bar and smashed the tills open before stealing the cash.”

The men, who are believed to be in their twenties, fled in the direction of Coldnailhurst Avenue.

Mrs O’Grady said: “I will need to get new fire exit doors fitted and I will need to get my locks changed.

“Although they forced the tills open I hope they can be repaired.

“They were in and out quite quickly as they had to be with the alarm going off.

“They did not take the charity tins or any of the spirits behind the bar, which I’m sure they would have done if they had more time.”

Although she has been running the pub for more than 14 years, Mrs O’Grady says she has never been burgled before.

She is keen to warn residents and business owners in the area to take extra care of their property and look after their neighbours.

She said: “I live here on my own with my daughter - it is scary this has happened.

“I want the community to be aware there are people out there like this.

“They are the scum of the earth these people.

“I am just trying to run a small business.”

Essex Police confirmed they are investigating the burglary.

A spokesman said: “We were contacted shortly before 1.45am on Tuesday with reports of a burglary at O’Gradys in Panfield Lane, Braintree. A three figure sum was stolen.

“Witnesses and anyone with information are asked to contact police on 101 quoting incident number 81 of August 7, or report online at essex.police.uk/do-it-online.

“Alternatively, contact the Crimestoppers charity 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.”