THIEVES lowered themselves down through the roof of a store and made off with £15,000 of cigarettes in an audacious burglary.
Staff at the Co-operative store on Ruabon Road, Johnstown, opened up on Monday morning to find the kiosk had been ransacked by three masked burglars.
The entire contents of the cigarette cabinets were taken in the raid.
Shocked employees said the burglars must have been “professionals”. The alarm, which staff said was “almost impossible not to set off”, was not triggered.
Steve Richards, the Co-operative’s store supervisor, who found the wreckage left by the thieves yesterday morning, said: “This must have been done professionally because our store is heavily alarmed.
“It must have been well-planned by people who knew the way the security system was set-up in the shop.
“It is hard to know exactly how much they have taken but based on our Saturday delivery they have probably got away with over £15,000 worth of stock.
“The alarms this morning are set as if nothing has happened.”
Mr Richards said CCTV footage showed three people wearing masks and gloves lowering themselves down off the roof of the store straight into the kiosk behind the counter at the front of the store.
The thieves then spent around 90 minutes carefully emptying the contents of the cigarette cabinets, which are obscured from public view by rolling shutters.
A member of North Wales Police’s scene of the crime team conducted forensics tests at the store yesterday.
Duty manager Linda Kempster, who has worked at the store for the past three years, said: “We’ve had no thefts of this kind before, the last break-in through the roof was more than 18 months ago.
“These people must have known what they were doing, it looks like a professional job.”
A spokesman for North Wales Police said: “At 5.25am we were notified of a break-in at the Co-operative store on Ruabon Road.
“A number of cigarettes were stolen.”
No arrests were made in connection with the incident yesterday.
Johnstown councillor David Bithell said theft was a “considerable problem” in the area. “It is worrying to have a burglary in the area given the amount of goods to have been taken,” he said.
“Issues of theft have been brought up by myself and other members at the past two meetings of the community council and I will be speaking will North Wales Police as a matter of urgency. We need to find out why things like this are happening.”
Police are appealing to anyone who was in the Ruabon Road area over Sunday night who may have heard or seen any suspicious activity to contact the police on 101 or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, quoting reference number P166438.