The life of a Lancashire store manager is being made a misery by repeated raids on her store and its tobacco gantry.

The Martins branch in Fulwood, Preston, has been targeted four times in the past six weeks by the gang who are thought to be stealing cigarettes to order.

Only specific brands such as Lambert & Butler and Benson & Hedges have been targeted in the raids, where windows and doors have been smashed.

The store has also had to repeatedly destroy its stock of greetings cards, which are displayed behind the window, for fear of glass splinters. Manager Elaine Barton said she was equally angry with the smokers who purchased illicit tobacco products as she was with those who supplied them. "They're encouraging burglars to commit crime," she said.

"Each time we have to shut the shop, and the loss of trade that results from that could lead to staff losing hours," she added.

Local police have since stepped up their presence and are stationing a police patrol car outside the shop at night in order to deter criminals.