Masked raiders used a power saw to slice open the door lock of Oxenhope’s Co-op store before ransacking its cigarette display during a 1am burglary last Thursday.

West Yorkshire Police believe two men forced open the door of the Station Road mini-market after cutting the lock with the saw, snatched cigarettes and tobacco before making their escape in a black Mondeo estate car.

The thieves sped off towards the Station Road and Keighley Road roundabout, then out of the village along Moorhouse Lane towards Marsh.

It was reported the men had been seen wearing balaclavas.

A staff member at the store in Station Road confirmed there had been a burglary, but was unable to give further details.

The Oxenhope shop was robbed last December on a Saturday evening when staff were menaced by two men wearing balaclavas who were armed with hammers.

The same evening the gang robbed the Co-op in Greenside Lane, Cullingworth, two shops in Halifax and two petrol stations in Bradford.

Oxenhope Parish Council vice-chairman, Councillor Tony Maw, condemned those behind the latest raid, and called for everyone in rural areas to be alert to travelling crooks.

“It’s despicable when this sort of thing happens and it’s quite dispiriting for the community,” Mr Maw said.

“Our Co-op is very much valued, as a lot of little local shops have disappeared.

“And since it was revamped a couple of years ago, it’s got even better and is used far more.

“It employs local people and it’s become a big resource for the village, something we certainly wouldn’t want to lose. All rural communities should be vigilant about this sort of criminal threat.”

A Co-operative Food and Retail spokesman said it remained committed to serving the community.

Speaking about the burglary, he added: “The store was closed at the time, but CCTV footage has been given to the police, who are investigating. As with any incident such as this, we would appeal for anyone with information to come forward.”

West Yorkshire Police are appealing for anyone with information on either the burglary or the suspect vehicle to contact them on 101 or anonymously on Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.