THOUSANDS of euro worth of watches were stolen after thieves smashed their way into a jeweller's store.
Raiders wielding sledgehammers broke their way through metal shutters and protective glass windows at Costello Jewellers in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
They weren't able to gain access to the store but managed to swipe half-a-dozen watches valued at up to €800 each.
Meanwhile, the shop's owner, Breasal O Caollai, told the Irish Independent that the loss of the watches was "insignificant" compared to the cost of repairs to the front of the shop and the disruption at "the busiest time of the year".
Mr O Caollai said the premises were empty when the thieves battered their way through the shop's security measures at about 6am. Gardai alerted him to the break-in.
He said the shop had never been broken into before and the level of the damage was shocking.
"The only thing we've really had here in the past was sort of snatches from the shop you'd get from time to time," he said.
He said that the raid was captured on CCTV, which he would be giving to the gardai this morning.
The shop will be opening as normal today but was closed for most of the morning yesterday.
Mr O Caollai said the theft occurred at "the busiest time of the year", adding: "You couldn't pick a worse time form that point of view."