Masked men burgled a building less than two days after police uncovered a large drugs haul within it.
As reported, cannabis plants worth up to half-a-million pounds were found after officers searched a property on Main Street, Greyabbey on Friday afternoon.
But then later on, in the early hours of Sunday, there was a break-in at the same premises, police yesterday confirmed.
Masked intruders were said to have entered at around dawn before making off with something – although it is not yet clear what it was they took.
It is understood police had completed their searches of the premises and all evidence connected with their earlier anti-drugs operation had been removed before the burglary took place. The News Letter was informed about the burglary by someone who claimed the intruders spent five-to-10 minutes inside before running from the scene “carrying black bin liners”.
The PSNI said in a statement: “Police in Newtownards are investigating the burglary of commercial premises in the Main Street area of Greyabbey in the early hours of Sunday, August 25. It was reported that at around 5.20am a number of masked men entered the premises and left a short time later carrying an unknown object. They were reported to have made off on foot.”
Meanwhile, the two suspects arrested in connection with the drugs raid appeared in court in Newtownards charged with drugs offences.
Phat Suong Chim, 46, and Tuyem Kim Nguyen, 24, were remanded in custody and it is expected they will appear in court again next month.
Police had said last week that the operation targeting the premises had been planned in advance.
UUP councillor Angus Carson, who covers the Greyabbey area, said he had been “very concerned” to learn of the initial drugs find.
He believed that the use of drugs on the Ards peninsula appeared to be “on the increase”.
DUP councillor Robert Adair, who also representsthe village, said: “I’d like to put on record my thanks to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in recovering these drugs in our community and taking them out.
“I’d call on anyone with any information to come forward to the PSNI.
“Greyabbey is a quiet village and we’re not used to this type of thing.”
Anyone with any information about the burglary is asked to call Ards CID on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.