AN ATTACK on a department store in Thornbury to steal a safe was "determined" says the store's boss after the abandoned empty security device was found.

The raid, which saw burglars force entry into Wildings on Thornbury High Street, before stealing the safe and a number of other goods, happened sometime between 5pm on Saturday, February 24 and 8am on Monday, February 26.

The safe was found abandoned near the clothes banks and the composting area at the leisure centre on Monday.

Only about £400 had been in the safe, due to the store’s policy to bank every night, but the thieves also took several items from the store, including cutlery, worth a further £200.

Wildings managing director Peter James backed a police appeal for witnesses, saying he hoped someone could come forward.

“They were quite determined because they chiselled the door frame to get in,” he said. “They then had to barge down the inner door to get to the safe in the office.

“Given how they went about it, it was probably someone who knew the store and knew where to go.”

He said, however, that no CCTV had been passed onto police as the footage of the burglary had not been clear enough.

“Obviously there have been a few incidents in Thornbury over the years,” he said, “and there are some people who are chancing it. They generally get caught in the end.

“Since the burglary, we have enhanced our security to make life more difficult for anyone who would attempt this again and we are not keeping cash in the safe anymore until we can get one that can be secured to the floor.

“What we would normally keep in there would be reserve money for the till and maybe a day’s takings. But with so many people paying by credit card nowadays, cash is considerably less significant.”

Officers are keen to hear from anyone who may have noticed any suspicious behaviour in that area in the past few days.

Anyone with any information which could help police enquiries is asked to get in touch through the police website, or by calling 101, quoting reference 5218043182.

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.