A boutique owner has told of how her daughter hid under a bed as burglars stole up to £18,000 worth of designer bags from her shop.
Up to 70 pre-owned Mulberry and Louis Vuitton handbags were stolen from Sarah Salvatori's Preloved @ 154 store in Deal High Street during the early hours of this morning.
An eyewitness has reported seeing three men with Liverpudlian accents carry out the crime.
While wearing masks to cover their faces, one remained in a vehicle timing the incident while two others went into the boutique to ransack the property.
Meanwhile, Mrs Salvatori's 25-year-old daughter who lives above the shop had heard somebody walk past her bedroom door and hid under her bed.
Mrs Salvatori said: "They took them all within 40 seconds. It was your typical smash and grab.
"They smashed the front door window, got in and when it was time to go, the person in the car beeped the horn twice."
She continued: "They've cleared me out. But it's not about the bags - they're replaceable.
"My main concern was that my kids were in there. I have utter relief that they are okay.
"My daughter hid under her bed as one came upstairs.
"Then my 19-year-old son called me and I rushed down there."
Mrs Salvatori has owned the shop since 2011. She originally offered antique furniture and mirrors but introduced pre-loved designer bags in the last two years.
She said: "It just took off. All of my sales were for the bags.
"But I'm not sure if I will continue with it now. This has left a bad taste in my mouth."
She is urging anyone who is offered a pre-loved handbag to contact police.
Authorities now believe the burglary is linked to another earlier that night - between 10pm and 3am - when a house was targeted on St Richard's Road.
Two cars were stolen from the property with one found abandoned.
A police spokeswoman continued: "The second vehicle, a grey-coloured Mini, is believed to have been used by the suspects to travel to a second burglary in the town.
"Items, including designer handbags, were then reported stolen from a commercial premises in High Street at around 3am on Wednesday, July 29.
"Officers would like to speak to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious, or has CCTV installed, in either St Richard’s Road or High Street.
"People with information are asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting either 46/130958/20 for the burglary in St Richard’s Road, or 46/130812/20 for the incident in High Street.
"You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org"