MASKED burglars battered their way into an Upton newsagents using drain covers and stole £8,000 worth of cigarettes which they loaded into bins.

The two men, wearing hats, hoodies, scarves and gloves, took just three minutes to clear the shop at 10 High Street, Upton, of hundreds of cigarettes during the raid at 2.15am yesterday (Monday) morning.

West Mercia Police has confirmed that the culprits used the cast iron drain covers stolen from William Tennant Way in the town to smash their way through the safety glass in the door and get inside the shop.

They left in a dark coloured vehicle which the shop's owner, Juliet Hill, described as an Audi parked near the Spar shop and fitted with false plates.

Mrs Hill, who has worked at the shop for 10 years and owned it for eight, said this was the first time this had happened since she had been there.

She said: "I don't know how I feel. I suppose I feel upset. You have just got to get on with things."

She said the police forensics team had examined the scene for clues.

The family had a phone call from a woman based at the pub across the road and Mrs Hill was scene at the scene at around 2.30am, around 10 minutes after police arrived.

Those with information can contact West Mercia Police on 101, quoting incident reference 60s200818.

The officer in the case is Kevan McNamee.