A MAJOR probe has been launched after around £100,000 of specialist car parts and a limited-edition vehicle were stolen from a garage in Padiham.

CCTV footage of a number of suspects has been released after a weekend raid took place on a warehouse belonging to Padiham Mini, Thompson Street.

Burglars walked through the insecure rear gates at the compound overnight on Saturday and Sunday and climbed onto a roof before smashing an office window to get inside.

Police say that the warehouse was thoroughly searched - with particular rooms and even units targetted - before they left via roller shutters operated from inside the premises.

Stolen property identified so far includes a special edition W-registration green Mini Cooper, engine parts, cash, clothing and memorabilia but a full stock-take was still underway last night.

PC Chris Hutchinson said: “This is a high value burglary which has left the company distraught.”

The officer believes that the intruders used a black Vauxhall Caddy van in the burglary to remove some of the ‘heavy and bulky tools’ taken.

Four men are thought to be involved - though two are believed to have remained in the van.

He added: “This was clearly a carefully planned burglary in which the shop has literally been emptied of almost all stock and this crime will have a long time to commit.”

Eyewitnesses or anyone who has been offered Mini accessories in the East Lancashire area are being asked to contact Pc Hutchinson on 01282 472120.