BLUNT FORCE: A thief wields a sledgehammer during a break-in at BP Tanawha.
BLUNT FORCE: A thief wields a sledgehammer during a break-in at BP Tanawha. Contributed

Sledgehammer wielding bandits steal ciggies at Tanawha

BANDITS swinging a sledgehammer have stolen cigarettes from one service station and damaged another in early morning raids.

More than 100 packets of cigarettes were taken from BP Tanawha after a sledgehammer was used to smash the front sliding glass door about 1.40am yesterday.

BP Tanawha owner Peter Barnes was awoken by a call from a security company and drove to the servo from his home four minutes away.

CCTV footage showed three men enter the store and smash a cash register before they were able to force open the cigarette cabinet.

There was no money in the cash register.

They left in a Mitsubishi Magna sedan before Mr Barnes and police arrived.

"The effect is horrific," Mr Barnes said.

"It leaves a sour taste in your mouth."

It was the second break-in he had endured since taking over the business in 1999.

DAMAGE DONE: BP Tanawha console operator David Jones inspects damage to a front glass sliding door caused by thieves.
DAMAGE DONE: BP Tanawha console operator David Jones inspects damage to a front glass sliding door caused by thieves. Stuart Cumming

"What is annoying is the loss, the aggravation to staff and the clean-up.

"I won't sleep for the next week."

Meanwhile, Yandina BP site supervisor John Porter was grateful something spooked three men as they tried to smash their way into the business about half an hour after the Tanawha break-in.

Mr Porter said CCTV showed the men reverse a Mitsubishi Magna up to the door of the store with its boot open.

They then smashed the door with a sledgehammer but fled before entering the store.

"They didn't manage to get in here, luckily," Mr Porter said.

"They got spooked by lights up the road or something."

He said the bread delivery man alerted authorities after coming across the damage.

Police were searching for the offenders yesterday.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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