A GANG of thieves stole £8,000 worth of cigarettes after ram-raiding a shop in Woodcote.
The five men broke into the Co-operative Food store in Bridle Path at about 3am on Monday.
They stole a bench from the neighbouring grass verge and placed it end-on against the shutters in front of the main entrance.
They then drove a convertible car into the other end, ramming the bench through to the shop floor. This ripped the front door off its hinges and set off the burglar alarm.
The gang could not drive straight into the building because it is surrounded by anti-ramming bollards.
Once inside, they broke into the locked cigarette cabinet behind the counter and took as much as they could before fleeing.
They had all covered their faces but one man was wearing an orange hat with the image of a face and ears on it.
The shop was closed for six hours while police investigated and the company assessed the damage. A new door and shutter were installed the following day.
Patrick Kelly, the branch’s team manager, said: “We were alerted to it by the alarm company. Another manager turned up and found the front of the place smashed in.
“Our customers have been pretty shocked — they were all asking us what had happened.”
The bench was on land owned by Oxfordshire County Council and was donated by a resident more than a decade ago.
It was smashed to pieces and it is not known whether it will be replaced.
Parish councillor Andy Crockett said the council would discuss the matter.
He was passing the scene when police were there and said: “The thieves must have gone to a lot of trouble as that seat was cemented into the ground.”
Anyone with information should contact Pc Katie Ford of Didcot CID via the Thames Valley Police non-emergency number, 101.