A RETRO toy and gaming store had thousands of pounds worth of stock stolen by masked raiders who broke into the business in the early hours of the morning.

Retroformers, located at The Centre, off Halstead High Street, has had a figure between £12,000 to £18,000 stolen after crooks targeted the store on March 19.

Crooks smashed the shop’s bottom front door panel at 2.30am and stole a mix of rare Warhammer products, collective Pokémon cards, DVDs and blu-rays.

Thousands of original Pokemon cards were stolen, with some worth up to £100 each.

Gazette: Destroyed - the door panel that the crooks smashed to gain access to the storeDestroyed - the door panel that the crooks smashed to gain access to the store (Image: Retroformers)

Gazette: Shop - Retroformers after the robberyShop - Retroformers after the robbery (Image: Retroformers)

Co-founder Jonathan Farenden and colleague Alex de Nigs, of Halstead, were made aware of the situation by fellow shop owners later in the morning and arrived on the scene at about 8am.

Jonathan said: “I feel very disappointed and let down that people do this.

"We are all struggling and bills are going up - we have all these issues.

“We are struggling as a nation. When someone does this, you feel like your struggle to keep going is tested.

“I am working now to basically fund the people who have stolen from me, until I manage to fill that void that has been left.

Gazette: Disappointed - Retroformers Co-founder Jonathan FarendenDisappointed - Retroformers Co-founder Jonathan Farenden (Image: Retroformers)

Gazette: Shop - RetroformersShop - Retroformers (Image: Retroformers)

“Something like this affects your ability to carry on.”

Jonathan says the store's CCTV footage shows two masked crooks carefully going through the DVD collection before deciding which ones to take.

Jonathan and Alex are determined to bounce back and are extremely grateful for the community's support after the incident.

Jonathan said: “We are upping all security which is an expense we now have to try fund after losing stock.

Gazette: Stolen - the Retroformers cash till was also stolen fromStolen - the Retroformers cash till was also stolen from (Image: Retroformers)

Gazette: Damage - the crooks made a hole in the building to cut the shop's alarm before enteringDamage - the crooks made a hole in the building to cut the shop's alarm before entering (Image: Retroformers)

“We’re going to do damage repair and try keep the business going and to grow it.

“I would like to thank our customers for their support and help.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We received a report of a burglary at a business premises in The Centre, Halstead, which is suspected to have taken place at around 2.30am on Tuesday, March 19.

“It was reported entry had been forced before stock and cash was taken from the property."

Anyone with information should contact Essex Police on 101 and quote crime reference number 42/44382/24.