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Police hunt off-licence ram-raiders

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A STAPLEHURST off-licence has been ram-raided for the fourth time with thieves making off with a collection of alcohol and cigarettes.

The raiders struck at Threshers in The Parade at about 4.15am yesterday. Police believe two men were involved. Both wore dark clothes and light coloured trainers. One was wearing wore a hood and the other a baseball cap to hide their faces.

They were driving a dark-coloured car and made off towards Maidstone after the raid in which they took goods valued at about £1,000 - ranging from lager and spirits to alcopops.

Deputy manager David Roberts said: "It's very annoying. We've been hit so many times now, I've lost count. It's become a habit."

Mr Roberts described the aftermath of the raid as "very messy".

Threshers was burgled in February and ram-raided last November and in June 2000. There was also a break-in in December 2000. Following the latest raid, the shop re-opened for business on yesterday afternoon.

Ironically, the firm's managers were due to hold a site meeting yesterday to discuss the possibility of installing iron grills over the shop front.

A police spokesman said: "We would like to hear from anyone who saw anything. Perhaps not at the scene, but someone may have come across the getaway vehicle being driven at speed through the countryside in the early hours."

Witnesses or anyone with information should contact Det Sgt Mark Chapman on 01622 608182 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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