Thieves hot-wired electric shutters on a Gloucestershire forecourt to get into the shop, then made off with £2,500-worth of cigarettes. The incident happened at Fromebridge Filling Station, on the A38 at Whitminster, earlier this month. It took the robbers less than three minutes to get in and out with the cigarettes. After hot-wiring the shutters, they shattered the main door, smashed open the tobacco cabinet and loaded the cigarettes into black bin bags.

They were caught on CCTV but were wearing masks and baseball caps so could not be identified. However one of them was wearing a light grey jacket, blue jeans and a hat. The other wore a baseball cap with two fluorescent strips, dark jacket and jeans.

The John Stayte Services-owned forecourt was closed at the time of the attack – 3.45am – but opened for business as usual at 6am on the same day.

Manager Mike Stayte has offered a £1,000 reward for information leading to the prosecution of the thieves. He told Forecourt Trader: “I’m a magistrate and I’m fed up with this sort of thing happening so I’m offering the reward in the hope that someone will come forward.”

He added: "This has caused a huge annoyance. We had to sort all the mess out. The value of the damage is the same amount as the cost of the cigarettes."

Mike described security at the forecourt as “good” with the shutters and 16 CCTV cameras. He has now replaced the shutters with a remote control version, which he says is a lot better.

He has also phoned other forecourt operators in the area to warn them about the attack and how it was carried out.