POLICE are hoping to stub out a series of burglaries in which large quantities of cigarettes have been stolen.
Up to 30 businesses have been targeted across the city and Nottinghamshire since the beginning of February, including one in Bulwell.
Supermarkets, newsagents and fuel stations have been among premises raided.
In most of the burglaries, offenders have gained entry by forcing front doors or shutters. They target cigarettes and cigar counters and, more often than not, ignore the till.
The quantity of tobacco stolen suggests they then flee in a vehicle.
Some arrests have been made but there are several suspects still being hunted.
Investigating officers are calling on the public for help in tracking down those responsible and the stolen cigarettes. They believe the burglaries are linked due to their similarities.
Det Sgt Paul Cash said: “With tax continuing to hike up the price of tobacco, there is a ready market for such products.
“In these burglaries it’s not just one pack of cigarettes being stolen, but dozens at a time, clearing shops of their entire stock.
“In our quest to bring the culprits to justice, we are trying to track the stolen goods. There have been a lot of packets of cigarettes stolen over the last two months. Where are they? Who is selling them?
“We are working with HM Revenue and Customs, and trading standards, but would also like to appeal to the public for information.
“Have you been approached to buy cigarettes by anyone? Have you seen large quantities of packets anywhere? If so, please get in touch with us.”
Business owners are being asked to review the security of their premises and ensure alarms and CCTV are turned on.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Nottinghamshire Police on 101 (extension 811 6620), quoting ‘Operation Cordoba’. Alternatively, call the free and confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555111.