£1,400 cigarette raiders hunted

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DETECTIVES are hunting two men who raided a store and stole around £1,400 of cigarettes.

The Co-op store, in Middle Street, Blackhall, was targeted around 11.40pm on Wednesday.

The manager of the store, who did not wish to be named, branded the thieves as “heartless” and described how he and his staff have been left to pick up the pieces following the burglary.

He said the store was closed of yesterday morning while officers carried out forensic tests.

The manager added: “I was on holiday and had lots of missed calls from the keyholders through the night.

“I came back to work and found there had been damage caused to the cigarette gantry and about £1,400 of cigarettes were taken.

“Whoever did this doesn’t think of the aftermath, we have got to tidy up the mess and there is a lot of paperwork involved.

“Hopefully someone may have been driving past at that time and may be able to tell police what they saw so whoever did this is caught.”

Detective Sergeant Cliff Down, of Peterlee CID, said: “Two males are believed to have gained entry through an insecure side window and stole a quantity of cigarettes.”

Police are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the burglary, or who knows any information regarding the incident, to call 0345 6060365 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.