MASKED raiders stole thousands of pounds in power tools after breaking into a DIY store under cover of darkness.

Three people forced their way into Screwfix, in Severalls Business Park, Colchester, shortly after 10pm on Thursday.

It is understood the gang used an angle grinder to cut through a shutter used for large item customer collections.

Once inside, the trio took about £4,000 worth of goods and made off in an Audi RS4.

It is the second time the branch has been targeted in the last two months.

On July 4, crooks broke in through the same shutter.

It is understood CCTV captures the trio arriving at the premises at about 10.20pm on Thursday before unloading an angle grinders and cutting a hole in the shutter.

Despite an LED security light shining upon them throughout the whole incident, the gang were not deterred and calmly took tools worth about £4,000 from the stockroom before getting back into the car and driving off.

The Gazette understands a group of car enthusiasts, who regularly meet in Smeaton Close, witnessed the incident and may have footage of the break-in.

One of the group called the police but by the time officers arrived, the crooks had gone.

The owner of a nearby business told the Gazette: “You just have to feel for them [Screwfix] because it’s the second time now.

“I know everyone is all right, no-one was there and there are no injuries so that is the main thing.”

A spokesman for Screwfix said he could not comment on the incident because of a live police investigation.

Essex Police are appealing for anyone who noticed anything suspicious in the area around the time of the raid.

Anyone with information should contact Colchester Police Station on 101, quoting reference 42/129352/18, or to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at