A DARING gang of thieves escaped with thousands of pounds after using a hammer and chisel to smash their way inside a Paisley pub under cover of darkness.
The uninvited demolition crew managed to remove 20 bricks from a rear wall at The Station Lounge bar and restaurant before crawling inside.
They then ransacked an office at the pub, which only opened for business a week ago, and used a hammer or crowbar to smash open two fruit machines and steal the cash that was inside.
Last night, staff said they were stunned by the robbery.
Gordon Calder, who is charge hand at the Canal Street pub, told the Paisley Daily Express: “The outside wall is about three feet thick but the thieves managed to remove about 20 bricks and make their way inside.
“It was obviously a professional job but it would have taken them a fair bit of time to make the hole in the wall. The gap was just big enough for someone to crawl through.”
Gordon, 34, reckons the thieves managed to escape with around £3,000 during their daring raid.
He added: “They’ve left behind a fair bit of damage. Glass from one of the gaming machines was left spread all over the floor and the machine itself is in bits. They probably smashed it open with a crowbar.
“We’ve only been open for a week and now this has happened. We have a new chef here and there is loads of entertainment lined up for our customers.
“Despite what has happened, we’re determined to make sure it is business as usual here.”
Police are investigating the robbery and are looking over other Paisley pub break-ins from the last year or so to find out if there are any similarities.
In an appeal for witnesses, one officer said: “If anyone heard strange noises coming from the back of The Station Lounge late on Wednesday night or in the early hours of Thursday morning, please let us know.
“Whatever information you might have about this incident, ring Paisley Police Office on 0141 532 5900 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”