Thieves stole hundreds of instruments after cutting a hole a music firm through its roof - and hoisting their haul out in a double bass case.

More than 230 instruments - valued at £40,000 - were taken from Omega Music on Brampton's Townfoot Industrial Estate.

Raiders leared the shelves of saxophones, clarinets, flutes, trumpets and French horns.

They are thought to have ripped the lining from a huge double base case to get the loot out.

They were then thought to have been taken from the back of the premises into a waiting van, overnight on Tuesday.

Staff at Omega believe the shop has been targeted in a planned, professional job where the site has been checked out beforehand.

Owner Ian Warnes told the News & Star: "The alarm was still set because they hadn't triggered it. It was covering the doors and windows.
"It's as if they knew precisely where the sensors were but they could have been lucky.

"They were very clever. They didn't come into the car park. They slid all the instruments down the bank onto the main road."

Manager Mike Green thinks they've taken a transit-van load of kit. He said: "It must have taken them a good bit of time.

"They took many smaller, portable things. The biggest thing would have been a small drum kit."

Sean Murray, Omega's purchasing officer, added: "If they had a bigger van they might have gone downstairs [where the alarm is] and been caught red-handed.

Mr Warnes continued: "Police say it is highly likely part of a network and they funnel to eastern European countries. They will be on their way."

It's thought the instruments would not be sold in the UK as the music industry is so tight-knit it would be too risky.

Mr Warnes said the incident is similar to a spate of break-ins at in Crowborough, East Sussex, which was targeted three times in six weeks early this year.

There, Intruders, who spent and hour cutting a hole in the side of the store, came away with a haul of saxophones worth £40,000 and then returned for another £100,000 worth of instruments.

They were caught on CCTV but a police guard and dog had to be stationed outside the shop as security was ramped up.

Mr Warnes said it was strange that orchestral instruments were taken as specialist instruments such as guitars are normally on criminals wishlists.

The highest value instrument was a Yanagisawa (CORR) saxophone, worth £3,000. Other top names included Selmar, Elkhart, Buffet and Howarth.

Mr Warnes started the business 30 years ago and while he was burgled once in the beginning, it has never happened since.

He said: "We are disgusted. We will recover but it's a bit of a set back."

He was once almost caught out was when two Steinway pianos, each worth £90,000, were requested on loan for a wedding in the Lake District.

As they were about to deliver them, Mr Warnes' wife warned him of her suspicions after checking out the credit card.

"Their wedding had been 'cancelled' and they were there to take the pianos away," he said.

Omega supplies more than 6,000 schools and has a large online presence, trading on the likes of Amazon.

Cumbria Police are appealing for anyone with information to contact 101 quoting log 49 of November 15. Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555111.