UPDATE: Four shops targeted by thieves in overnight spate

Tesco Express Billingshurst. Photo courtesy of Google Street View.
Tesco Express Billingshurst. Photo courtesy of Google Street View.

Police are hunting for three masked men after four stores were targeted by thieves in an overnight break-in spate.

Thieves smashed their way into Sainsbury’s Local supermarket in High Street, Billingshurst, at about 1am on Tuesday, September 5.

Police said a door pane was smashed and intruders tried to steal cigarettes from shuttered shelving. They failed and instead took National Lottery scratchcards contained in two plastic towers on the counter.

Minutes later the Tesco Express store, in Lower Station Road, was broken into. Officers said similar items were taken.

Three men wearing masks or hooded jackets drove off in a white BMW car which had been stolen from an address in Brighton.

Police said at about 3am Hartley’s wine shop in Worthing Road, Rustington, was also broken into and alcohol was taken.

A failed attempt was made later that morning, at about 4am, to break into the Co-op store in The Square, Angmering.

Officers said the white BMW was found on fire and abandoned outside St Margaret’s Church, Angmering.

Detective Constable Sara Liau said: “Our investigation is ongoing but it seems likely that all these offences were linked.”

Tesco said the store was closed at the time of the break-in and no staff or customers were hurt.

A spokesperson for the supermarket chain said: “We were shocked to hear of this incident and are glad that no-one was hurt.

“We will be assisting the police with their investigation.”

Sainsbury’s said it was supporting the police with the investigation.