A COMMUNITY told of its shock after brazen thieves used a stolen car to carry out a dramatic ram-raid at a Portland supermarket.

Money was stolen after two men raided the Co-op store in Fortuneswell just before 11.30pm on Wednesday.

CCTV of the scene appears to show intruders forcing entry using a sledgehammer and a stolen Land Rover.

Police said it is believed a quantity of cash was stolen from a cash machine during the raid.

The Land Rover, belonging to the National Trust, had been reported as stolen from an address in the Bridport area.

The offenders left it at the scene on Portland and fled in a blue Audi S3 Quattro.

A local man who saw the whole incident said the criminals seemed to be well prepared: "What I heard was the bang. I didn't know what it was and I thought it was a bomb going off at first.

"I looked and there were two blokes, one with a sledgehammer and the other in a National Trust Land Rover. One of them smashed the door with the sledgehammer and he was absolutely off his head, he was absolutely livid and going berserk.

"They were gone in about five minutes. It seemed like they knew what they were doing, they had it sussed. I have never seen anything like it."

A spokesperson for the National Trust said they were aware one of their Land Rovers was stolen overnight on November 6 and that police were investigating.

Portland town councillor Sandra West said: "I am horrified. The Co-op is not just a shop to us, it's a community. We go in there almost every day, we know all the staff and they are a great bunch.

"It gets to you that people can be so brazen. I'm just glad that it was at night when nobody was working there because it would have been terrifying.

"It's a sad situation and I really hope those idiots are caught. How dare they do this.

"When they smashed through the doors of that shop they smashed into our community.

"My thoughts are with the staff. They are a good hard-working bunch of people and they didn't deserve this."

Andrew Straw from the Portland Community Partnership condemned the crime as 'heinous': "This is not only a crime on the store itself, but also our community whom rely on the store for their everyday sundries. Often the store offers older members of our community whom live alone, the chance to talk to somebody in the store and for a short while, not feeling alone.

"I do hope the staff are not too disheartened by this incident, and I am sure they are all working very hard to get the store open again as fast as they possibly can."

FORENSIC teams were at the scene yesterday searching for clues while detectives carried out house to house enquiries.

Dorset Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

Detective Sergeant Dave Horn, of Weymouth CID, said: “We are carrying out a detailed investigation to identify those responsible for this offence. This will cause a considerable inconvenience to the business targeted and a cordon will be in place while investigation work is carried out.

“I would urge any witnesses or anyone with information about the break-in to please contact us. I would also appeal to anyone who was driving in the area around the time of the incident and has dashcam fitted to their vehicle to check their footage for anything relevant.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting occurrence number 55190175623.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.