Raiders strike twice

Hentendra Bhudia

Hentendra Bhudia

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Axe and crowbar-wielding raiders have stolen thousands of pounds worth of cigarettes and alcohol in two separate burglaries.

Police are linking the two early hours raids – at H&N Mini Market, Park Road, Chorley and Bargain Booze, Talbot Drive, Euxton.

In the first r aid, at around 1.35am on Wednesday, three offenders approached the front door and smashed their way in with a large axe.

Owner Hetendra Bhudia, his wife, 14-year-old son and father were sleeping upstairs.

Mr Bhudia said: “We were upstairs at the time. There were four people, one a driver in the car. Three of them came out of the car. They had like an axe and a sledgehammer.

“They were banging on the door, so we heard the break-in before they entered the shop. We rang the police straight away.” Mr Bhudia said he and his father went
downstairs.

“We actually saw it. We came down and opened the back door from the shop and could see them filling the cigarettes. We just locked the door and waited behind the door.”

Mr Bhudia said it was a “terrifying” experience.

Police said the break-in was captured on CCTV. The raiders got away with almost £5,000 of various brands of cigarettes.

The three are described as being dressed in black, wearing hoods and gloves. One was carrying a crowbar, another a large axe.

They were seen to arrive in a black Audi A3 on false registration plates, stolen from the Manchester area.

In the other raid at Bargain Booze, police said a significant amount of cigarettes and alcohol was taken.

It happened at 3.20am on Sunday.

Again, three offenders, all wearing dark clothing, were captured on CCTV.

Police said they forced back a shutter with a large crowbar at the side of the premises and kicked open a wooden door.

They were seen inside the shop filling a large bag with cigarettes and alcohol before making off on foot into the Kingsway area.

Shortly after, a silver coloured Ford Fiesta was seen leaving Kingsway at speed.

Bargain Booze did not wish to comment on the incident.

Sergeant Kevin Mountain, of the Chorley Neighbourhood Police Team, said it appeared the two raids were linked.

“It’s a similar MO, probably linked and probably the same offenders.”

He said; “It’s the time of year where cigarettes and alcohol are always targeted.

“We would ask anybody who sees any suspicious activity around any similar type of shop premises to get in touch with us.

“We’re visiting shop premises to see if their CCTV is in working order and physical security is as good as it can be to prevent any further offences.”

Anyone with information on the two burglaries can ring police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

They were seen to arrive in a black Audi A3 on false registration plates, stolen from the Manchester area.

In the other raid at Bargain Booze, police said a significant amount of cigarettes and alcohol was taken.

It happened at 3.20am on Sunday.

Again, three offenders, all wearing dark clothing, were captured on CCTV.

Police said they forced back a shutter with a large crowbar at the side of the premises and kicked open a wooden door.

They were seen inside the shop filling a large bag with cigarettes and alcohol before making off on foot into the Kingsway area.

Shortly after, a silver coloured Ford Fiesta was seen leaving Kingsway at speed.

Bargain Booze did not wish to comment on the incident.

Sergeant Kevin Mountain, of the Chorley Neighbourhood Police Team, said it appeared the two raids were linked.

“It’s a similar MO, probably linked and probably the same offenders.”

He said; “It’s the time of year where cigarettes and alcohol are always targeted.

“We would ask anybody who sees any suspicious activity around any similar type of shop premises to get in touch with us.

“We’re visiting shop premises to see if their CCTV is in working order and physical security is as good as it can be to prevent any further 
offences.”

Anyone with information on the two burglaries can ring police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.