TWO SOUTHAMPTON shops have been targeted by thieves in early morning raids.

A gang of five people forced their way into Tesco Express in Lordswood Road at around 1.45am yesterday.

They used an angle grinder and crowbar to gain entry and then made off with cash boxes from behind the till, according to one member of staff.

Daily Echo:

CCTV cameras, as well as front shutters, were left damaged but the store is expected to reopen later this afternoon

Meanwhile, the Tesco Esso Express in West End Road was broken into at around 3am

It remains closed with a barrier in place outside the premises.

Daily Echo:

A police spokesperson said: "We can confirm that officers were called out to an incident at 1.44am this morning (November 30) following reports of a burglary in progress at a Tesco Express supermarket on Lordswood Road, Southampton. Five offenders entered the premises, after forcing the doors and shutters of the main entrance open – with and a number of cash boxes were stolen containing a large quantity of cash.

"Damage was also caused to the CCTV cameras directly outside of the store.

"While we can also confirm that officers were called to a Tesco Express on West End Road at 3.34am this morning (November 30) following reports of a burglary. The offenders have forced open the front door and shutters, gaining entry into the premises. It is not clear as of yet, if anything has been stolen."

Police enquires are ongoing in relation to both incidents.

At this point it is unknown if the two incidents are linked, however, the Daily Echo has asked Hampshire Police for more information.