THE boss of a wine warehouse has appealed for help after thieves snatched wine worth £14,000 in a midnight raid last Tuesday morning.
The burglars peeled back the steel wall of the Winehouse in Brighton Road ‘like a sardine can’ before disabling the security cameras and making off with around 1,800 bottles.
The raiders came from across the railway track at around 12.30am, cutting a hole in the fence
“There were certainly a few of them,” said managing director Andy Wiseman.
The raiders broke in above the office and cut the security cameras off the wall, removed ‘at least a couple of tonnes’ of wine before they dismantled the front gates and made good their escape.
Mr Wiseman said the thieves must have had a van to get away with so much stock.
He said the manager had responded to an alarm call that night but had not seen anything suspicious, meaning the gang had either already left or were still inside the warehouse.
“It was a bit of a shock and a disappointment,” said Mr Wiseman.
“They were very good at breaking in but they weren’t wine experts, judging by the products they took.”
The firm has since ramped up its security, installing new alarm sensors and upgrading its CCTV system.
The Winehouse is the sole importer of the wines, meaning they should be relatively easy to trace.
“We supply dozens of bars and restaurants in with these wines, so it’s going to be quite easy to realise they are ours.”
The stolen wines were Chablis Cuvee Andre Dom Malandes, 2012 Fleurie Les Garants and Saint-Bris Chablis Les Malandes.
PC Sally Howarth, of Sussex Police, said: “A number of people must have been involved to have removed so many bottles of wine in such a short period of time and they would have needed a van or a lorry to take them away.
“The Winehouse is the sole distributor for the wines that were stolen to restaurants or off-licences. If you are offered some of the bottles by someone who isn’t from The Winehouse please contact us.
“We also need to speak to anyone who was in the Brighton Road area in the early hours of Tuesday morning and who may have seen or heard something suspicious or anyone who saw a vehicle parked outside The Winehouse at that time.”
This was the first break-in the Winehouse has suffered in its 20-year history.
Anyone with information should email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting serial 139 of 26/08, call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.