THIEVES copied the £14million Hatton Garden gems heist by drilling through a wall to pinch ciggies from a WHSmith store.
But despite similarities to the 2015 raid where robbers crawled into a safety deposit vault, the gang’s haul this time was worth a lot less.
The thieves broke into an empty former clothes shop at the weekend, then drilled a 3ft hole through a partition wall and smashed down breeze blocks to get inside the WHSmith store.
The burglary, in Marlborough, Wiltshire, was discovered on Monday morning.
Owner Mark Bury, who is renovating the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill store, reckoned the raid must have been planned well in advance.
He said: “You can see they knew where to drill through.
“They obviously got it wrong the first time, as they drilled through the fireplace. I think they knew what they were after. I’m told that a lot of cigarettes were taken.
“They went through all the tools on site but it looks like most of those are still here — so obviously they had a target in mind.”
Mark said the raiders probably got into his store by jemmying open a door giving them access to a fire escape.
The floor of the shop’s rear room was left covered in bricks and debris and Wiltshire Police are investigating.
Over the Easter bank holiday weekend in April 2015 a gang broke into an underground vault at a safety deposit facility in Hatton Garden, central London.
The raiders drilled through a thick concrete wall and looted deposit boxes to escape with cash, gems and valuables worth an estimated £14million.
Nicknamed the Diamond Wheezers due to their advanced ages, seven members of the gang were later jailed.
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