POLICE were involved in a dramatic car chase across Hampshire after thieves struck at a garage.

Detectives are appealing for witnesses after thieves broke into Botley Service station on Station Hill, by forcing the door.

Once they had gained access inside they grabbed a haul of cigarettes before making off.

A burgundy car was seen in the area at the time of the theft, which happened between 11.20pm and 11.40pm on Wednesday.

Just 50 minutes later police pursued a burgundy coloured Subaru Legacy which failed to stop in Basingstoke.

The car, which had four people inside, was found following the pursuit after it was dumped on the A339 near Rooksdown, in Basingstoke.

Cigarettes were found in the car, but despite an extensive search those in the car could not be found.

Detective Inspector Justin Torgout said: “Our investigation is looking into whether these incidents are linked and we are keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed a burgundy Subaru Legacy in the vicinity of Station Hill, Botley or the Basingstoke area.”

Officers are also looking at whether an attempted burglary at the Hire Centre on Church Road in Locks Heath just after 11pm the same is connected.

The cigarette raid is the latest in a series across Hampshire in which shops, garages and convenience stores have all been targeted.

Anyone with information can call Winchester CID on 101 or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.