A NEWSAGENTS has been left with a damaged door after crooks broke in during the middle of the night before making off with packets of cigarettes.

Essex Police were called to McColl’s, in The Street, Little Clacton, shortly before 3am on Sunday.

Officers had received reports a burglary had taken place after the thieves forced their way inside the shop.

The raiders then stole a quantity of cigarettes before escaping the scene.

The force’s officers visited the convenience shop, which is surrounded by residential properties and located near a car dealership, as an investigation was launched.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We received reports at around 2.50am on Sunday about a burglary at McColl’s, in The Street, Little Clacton.

“We received information that suspects had forced entry to the shop before leaving with cigarettes.

“Our inquiries are ongoing.”

One resident, who lives nearby and has asked not to be named, said she was woken up after hearing a loud security alarm going off in the middle of the night.

When she looked outside her window, she realised it was coming from the McColl’s newsagents, and after a short while, two police cars had pulled up.

“I live only three doors away from the shop and woke up to the alarm sounding and then all of a sudden I saw police attend,” she said.

“The shop staff told me they believe a crowbar was used to force the door open.”

A spokesman for McColl’s confirmed that no employees were in the store at the time of the break-in.

Company bosses are assisting Essex Police with their investigation in the hope of catching those responsible.

“The health, wellbeing and safety of our employees is of utmost importance,” said the spokesman.

“This incident happened when the store was closed and no colleagues were thankfully hurt.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities in response.”

Essex Police is appealing for anyone with information about the incident to contact the force by calling 101.

Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111.