Police are warning business owners to be aware of vacuum cleaner thieves following incidents in Worthing, Southwick and Brighton and Hove.
Officers have received several reports of vacuum cleaners being borrowed from businesses and not being returned.
At around 11.30am on Monday, January 14, a man went into Metro Bet in Montague Street, Worthing, saying he worked at a nearby shop and asked if he could borrow their vacuum cleaner.
He did not return it.
On Sunday, December 15, a man went into Taxi Link in Albion Street, Southwick, and requested to use their vacuum cleaner. Again this was not returned.
Reports have also been received of similar incidents at the King and Queen pub in Brighton on December 10, To Be Worn Again, in Kensington Gardens, on December 21, The Battle of Trafalgar pub in Trafalgar Road, Portslade, on December 29, and Brighton Electric Recording Co, in Coombe Terrace on January 12.
A report of a man asking for a vacuum cleaner at The Kendal Arms, Payne Avenue, Hove, on January 15 was made to police. The pub did not give him a vacuum cleaner.
All the reports relate to Henry vacuum cleaners.
PC Duncan Slaney, of West Sussex Neighbourhood Response Team,said: “We are warning businesses to be wary of people claiming to be from a nearby business and then requesting to borrow a vacuum cleaner.
“Businesses and the local community should also be wary of people selling cheap vacuum cleaners. In the majority of these incidents the offender has then sold a vacuum cleaner onto another nearby business.
“If you have any information about who may be carrying out these offences, have been a victim, or have been offered a vacuum cleaner for sale then we would like to hear from you.”
Anyone with information regarding these incidents, or anyone who would like to report a similar incident, is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.