A prolific gang of cigarette thieves is on the rampage across the county, smashing
their way into shops.
So far 25 premises have been burgled by the gang who have swiped thousands of pounds of cigarettes from newsagents, post offices and grocery stores.
The Daily Echo can today reveal that detectives believe the same highly organised group are behind the string of break-ins which have been carried out under the cover of darkness since the start of last month.
All of the raids have taken place either late at night or in the early hours of the morning – and many are close to main roads that give easy access to the south’s motorway networks.
The latest raid came in the early hours of Monday morning, when the burglars forced their way through metal shutters at the Co-Op store in Nursling.
They struck at the Nursling Street shop at around 4.30am, before making off with a haul of cigarettes from behind the counter.
It is not thought they attempted to take anything else.
The burglars have also struck across Southampton, Winchester, Ashurst, Romsey, Boyatt Wood, North Baddesley, Marchwood, Cadnam and Ringwood.
A major investigation is now under way, being led by CID officers from Lyndhurst police station, who are linking the crimes.