Retailers in Leicestershire are being urged to boost store security and vigilance following an increase in store break-ins by thieves targeting tobacco.

Recent months have seen “an increase in cigarette kiosk break-ins across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland”, Leicestershire Police Force said.

The force is urging retailers to consider installing smoke-emitting devices to cover their cigarette gantries and storage areas.

The devices work by filling a room with smoke to disorientate criminals, making it harder to see what they intend to steal.

The force also recommended that retailers considered fitting monitored intruder alarms, internal metal roller shutters, “and to remove stock from cigarette kiosks in the evenings before closing”.

Detective Inspector Helen Fletcher said: “I would like to ask owners and managers of convenience stores within the Leicestershire area to review the security measures they currently have in place.

“If anyone has any information, we urge them to either contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

A “high quantity of cigarettes, cigars and tobacco” were stolen from a convenience store in Kibworth Beauchamp in the early hours of 21 March. A man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and has since been released under investigation.

The window of a store in Belgrave Boulevard, Leicester, was also smashed and a quantity of cigarettes stolen on the evening of 23 Febuary.  Another man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and has also since been released under investigation.