Brazen thieves spent hours stealing around £100,000 in soft drink stock from a warehouse on the outskirts of Armagh city.
Three lorry loads of stock were taken from the store on the Drumconwell Road sometime between 6.30pm on Monday and 8am this morning (Tuesday).
The audacious raid would have taken the thieves a number of hours according to owner Gerard Keenan.
Speaking to Armagh I, Mr Keenan explained how he found the yard when he opened up this morning.
“I couldn’t believe it because they had closed up behind them, putting the chain back around the gate,” he said.
“However, there was no lock attached and it was then I realised there was a problem.
“They even used my forklift to unload the warehouse with what was a lorry-load of stock. There were two trailers filled with stock in the yard, ready to go out this morning. They unloaded the trailer from a lorry which was parked up in the yard.
“It looks like they got access to the keys by breaking in through the office window after failing to prise open the door.”
In total, two trailers (already loaded for delivery) filled with soft drinks were taken, and enough stock to fill a third trailer from inside the warehouse.
“This would have been a big operation; almost so obvious that people wouldn’t have been suspicious,” explained Mr Keenan.
“The whole yard would have been lit up. They could have been doing this in the early evening or in the small hours of the morning, either way, nobody seems to have heard a thing.
“It would have taken us about three hours today to do what they did.”
The stock included well-known brands such as Red Bull, Fanta and Coca-Cola, but as Mr Keenan pointed-out, the Cola was Danish, making it difficult to sell on without eyebrows being raised.
He said: “The Coca-Cola would jump out immediately because it’s Danish brand; it would have to be sold to a wholesaler but even then it would have to be checked out.
“I have spoken to all my customers warning them that if anyone tries to sell them the stock to contact me.
“I have operated out of that yard for four and half years without so much as a problem. My security wouldn’t be 100 percent and I can imagine that causing me all sorts of headaches now.”
If you have any information please contact police in Armagh on the non-emergency number 101.