POLICE are appealing for information about a series of cigarette thefts from stores and supermarkets across the county.
Several stores in the south of the county have been targeted in these linked incidents, with the cigarettes stolen of considerable value.
The burglaries in which cigarettes have been stolen are also being linked to a number of cashpoint thefts and attempted thefts.
Since the beginning of April the following stores have been burgled: Waitrose in Brackley, Tesco in Brackley, the Co-Op in Duston village and the One Stop Shop in St Crispin, Northampton and the One Stop Shop in Towcester.
Two of the most recent incidents have been reported in the east of the county, at Rushden and Raunds.
The Waitrose store at Crown Park in Rushden was burgled between midnight and 12.30am on Monday, 7 May.
Three offenders smashed down a fire door to get entry to the store, forced open the secure tobacco kiosk and used wheelie bins to remove the contents.
A further incident occurred during the early hours of the following morning at the Co-Op in Raunds but left empty-handed following the activation of an alarm.
In all incidents, the offenders have been described as wearing dark clothing and always with face scarves, balaclavas or hoods up. In a few cases, rigger or gardening gloves have been worn.
The offenders drive a black Subaru estate car or a black BMW M3, targeting models and either stealing or cloning registration plates.
Premises are predominantly being targeted during the early hours of the morning and offences have also occurred in neighbouring Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.
Witnesses to these incidents, or anyone with information, should call Northamptonshire Police on 101 or information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.