OUR streets are empty, pubs are closed, shutters are up on shops ­— and, it seems, even criminals are staying at home.

There was a 28 per cent drop in crime in the last month ­— compared to the same time last year ­— but police are warning thieves there will be no let-up if they do decide to target firms’ empty premises.

Top cop Supt Caroline Hemingway has vowed to protect businesses who have been forced to close during the coronavirus lockdown.

While some offences have reduced in the past month, there have been reports of an increase in business burglaries across the country.

Although there are no official figures for Bolton, it is understood officers do not believe there has been a spike locally.

On the first weekend of the lockdown, vandals broke into The Spinning Mule on Nelson Square ­— although nothing was taken from the property.

Last Thursday, burglars ripped off the metal shutters of Market Fish Bar in Farnworth in the early hours of the morning and forced their way in.

The following day, thieves struck again at the same restaurant.

No money or valuables were taken but the base unit of a slush machine was stolen and thousands of pounds in damage was caused.

And on Sunday evening Fultons Foods on Pavilion Square in Westhoughton was raided.

The following morning staff came into work to find that goods had been taken from the store.

Supt Hemingway said: “We are committed to helping to keep local communities safe, including businesses who are deemed as essential, and also those who have had to close.

“Coronavirus has necessitated many businesses to close across Greater Manchester.

“Crime prevention remains a force priority, and we ask that you play your part in helping keep businesses safe.

“This is an uncertain time for us all, and we are faced with a rapidly changing environment we are all having to adjust to.”

Earlier this month, GMP issued a raft of advice for businesses on how to protect themselves during the lockdown.

Priorities for firms are to ensure no valuables are left in sight, check CCTV equipment, install good lighting, and make sure all windows, doors, gates and fences are secure.

Supt Hemingway added: “We would encourage everyone follows the guidance we have issued to help protect their businesses, especially those which have had to close.”