Thieves made off with £5,000 worth of stock after breaking into a vaping shop by creeping through a toilet window.

Three burglars broke into the Vaping Lounge, in East Square, Basildon, and stole a selection of vaping paraphernalia, a charity box and four boxes of chocolate.

The trio used a bin from the shop to carry out their haul of stolen goods.

The owner of the shop, Sofiea Khan, 29, from Basildon, was furious when she discovered the break-in, which took place overnight on Monday to Tuesday.

She said: “They broke through the toilet window, which was boarded up and I didn’t even know about it when I started managing this shop two years ago.

“They took so many things. They took mods, tanks, batteries, four boxes of chocolates and a charity box. But it’s very strange that they didn’t take the drinks with them.

“They have also trashed the place. It’s just disgusting.

“We have lost £5,254 worth of stock. It will also cost us £87.50 to repair damages to the CCTV camera, and £100 to repair the window.

“From our CCTV footage, they were emptying bins, and they used one of them to carry out the stock out of the shop.

“My husband and I worked so hard to save money for this shop. This has left me physically, emotionally and mentally drained. It’s really bad, and really disgusting.”

Luckily, Ms Khan can still continue running her business as one of her regular suppliers, Big Bottles Bistro, supplied her with stock immediately after the theft.

She said: “I want to thank Big Bottles Bistro, my staff members and their families for helping me keep the shop running. They’ve been amazing.

“This area does get rough. Last week when the Pie and Mash shop was broken into I found their charity boxes at the back of my shop and I handed it back to the owner. There was even a few quid left inside.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “We are investigating a burglary at Vape Lounge in East Square, Basildon which took place at some point between 6pm on October 2 and 8.45am on October 3.

“A messy search has been carried out. Items from shelves have been taken while other property was damaged. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Basildon police station on 101.”