SLEDGEHAMMER-wielding raiders made off with some £10,000 worth of branded clothing from a Wimborne store on Thursday night.

CCTV footage from Berties Country, in Crown Mead Mews, showed three masked raiders attacking the front of the store with the hammer at around 10.40pm, knocking down the door in a rain of blows.

Owner David Rosier said two of the group then entered the store and gathered as many clothes as they could before fleeing the scene, the break-in having set off the alarm.

It is almost exactly a year since the store was one of several in the town targeted by distraction thieves, who took five or six items of clothing worth several hundred pounds.

“They drove up into the pedestrian area of Wimborne and came out with ski masks on, and hit the front door 23 times with a sledgehammer,” said Mr Rosier.

“I got to the store at about 11.10pm but they were long gone by then. They took quite a quantity of Barbour jackets and Dubarry tweed products. About £10,000 worth of stock.

“We have been targeted, they knew exactly what they were doing.

“They took as much stock as they could in two or three minutes.”

Mr Rosier said the incident had left his staff and the wider community shaken.

"We had some shoplifters take a £1,000 of jackets but we got those back, and one made the national papers when a Katie Price lookalike took some trousers. This is the first time we have had a break-in.

"We are a small independent business creating employment for local people and supply to local people, and this is very upsetting for everybody.

"The staff in particular. They are worried about being in the store on their own.

"There is a house next door with an 83 year old lady and she was shocked because she thought Wimborne was safe. She doesn't feel very safe now. There is a knock-on effect."

Mr Rosier said cameras had captured the registration number of the vehicle used by the thieves, although it is thought to be a fake.

While his goods are insured, the raid will still affect the business.

"It will take me six months to replace that stock, that is the opportunity lost for those products, the profit opportunity."

Dorset Police confirmed officers were summoned to reports of the raid at 11.30pm yesterday evening and an investigation is under way.

A spokesman said: “A number of Barbour jackets and other items were taken. We are making enquiries and no arrests have been made.”