A SHOPKEEPER today told of his shock after masked raiders stole cash and cigarettes from his convenience store in an early-morning burglary.
Detectives are appealing for witnesses to come forward after thieves broke into Premier Stores, in Albany Village, Washington, before snatching the goods.
The burglars forced metal shutters to get inside before swiping the money and hundreds of boxes of cigarettes.
It is thought the men were wearing ski masks and camouflage clothing, and they rode away on an off-road motorbike.
Police are now examining CCTV footage of the burglary.
Owner Jindy Singh, who was not in the shop at the time of the raid, rushed to the store after the alarm went off.
The 29-year-old, who has run the business for two and a half years, said: “We’d closed at 8pm, so it was a few hours later when they got in. Once the alarms went off, I was there about 10 minutes after it happened.
“This is the first time it has ever happened here, but the police say this kind of thing has been happening at a few shops in Sunderland recently.”
Despite the burglary, Mr Singh says he will not leave the store and move to another shop.
“It doesn’t put me off running the shop, but it is a bit disheartening when you work hard all day and then something like this happens,” he said.
Mr Singh added that people living in the area have shown their support for him since the robbery, which happened between 1am and 1.30am on Sunday.
“We’ve had customers in asking about what happened and they have been supportive,” he said.
Neighbourhood Inspector Paul Stewart said: “We’re carrying out initial enquiries into the burglary, including viewing CCTV, and want to hear from anyone who may have any information about those responsible.”
People with any information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.