Owners of a bar have been left devastated after thieves smashed their way into their premises causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, before returning the following evening to steal their car.

The Crafty Fox in Accrington only opened three weeks ago, but in the early hours of Sunday morning, callous criminals broke into the Abbey Street bar and destroyed the inside.

What made things worse for owner Paul Fox, is that the thieves only made-off with around £30 in change from one of the tills, but unbeknown to him at the time, stole his wife's car keys, and returned around 10.30pm on Sunday to take her beloved Nissan Juke.

Mr Fox, who used to run The Attic nightclub on Warner Street, was called by the police around 5am on Sunday, and when he arrived, found extensive damage to the establishment's roof and ceilings.

He said: "They trashed the place. They kicked through the ceiling, caused damage to the roof, I'm devastated.

"We have a new extension at the back and they broke the roof on that and took the slate roof off to try and get in and then kicked a massive hole in the ceiling.

"They've then come downstairs and got the till, but they couldn't get out, so they tried to smash the back door in.

"Then they went back upstairs and smashed the window at the front.

"The police were there in minutes but just missed them."

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Mr Fox said CCTV from the bar - which was very upsetting to watch - shows the culprits quite clearly, with police now fully investigating the break-in.

Following the incident, Mr Fox took to social media to let his customers know what had happened, and within hours was inundated with people turning up offering to help.

He said: "We only opened on September 18, but we were getting really good reviews. People were saying they couldn't believe there was something like this in Accrington as it felt like they were in a bar in York or Manchester.

"And after putting something on our Facebook page on Sunday morning we had loads of people turn up to help - roofers, joiners, it was unbelievable.

"The community has been amazing, there were tradesmen repairing the roof and windows and I didn't even ask them.

"We opened back up on the Sunday because we didn't want to let what happened beat us."

A unique craft ale bar and restaurant to open in Accrington

However, the buzz around re-opening was bittersweet as Mr Fox said the thieves returned a few hours later on Sunday night and stole his wife's car, which was parked outside the bar.

He added: "The first time they took the till, which only had 10ps and 5ps in it, nothing else, but they must've seen the car keys while they were in here, took them and then came back and nicked the car.

"We are devastated, it's been so upsetting."

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Despite having a brilliant day for takings on Sunday, Mr Fox said following the theft of the car he didn't have the heart to open the bar on Monday.

He continued: "We just couldn't open yesterday, we were so upset.

"Apart from the car, all they got was a till with hardly any money in it, but left us with so much damage.

"The people of Accrington have been amazing and so have the police to be honest, and they have a good idea of who's behind it but if anyone knows anything or has any more information that could help then we'd be really grateful."

The Crafty Fox, which serves craft ales and locally sourced food in a quirky setting, will be re-opening at 5pm today (Tuesday),

Anyone with information about the break-in, or the car theft is asked to contact the police on 101 quoting log number 0319 of October 10.

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