The owners of a Halesowen pet store are reeling after thieves took £40k worth of stock in an overnight raid.

Culprits struck at The Big Pet Store in Hereward Rise - cutting through a chain on a gate and smashing through the front door.

Owner Mike Burke said he was "gutted" at the incident which saw thieves take a haul worth £40k including dog harnesses, toys, and sacks of dog food, medications and pet shampoos.

They also killed fish in the store’s display tank by putting excessive amounts of food in, making the water like soup. 

But Mike has been overwhelmed since by the good wishes of the local community who shared their support at a charity Santa Paws grotto event held at the store on Sunday (December 2) and through messages on Facebook.

Mike, aged 61, said: "We're gutted.

"You work hard to make a living and then someone comes along and takes it off you.

“They targeted our high value stock, so they obviously knew what they were after.

"We were really down but the grotto event really lifted our spirits, we had people queuing for over an hour. We had dogs and cats and even snakes! and so many wellwishers, it makes you realise that most people are nice."

People have also rallied round the store on Facebook, sending their good wishes.

Liz Lowe said: "This shop recently gave my husband a load of things for free for a local dog charity - they were so kind. Makes me sad to hear this."

Paula Davies said: "Absolutely disgusting! Nothing is safe these days! Makes me so angry. Do hope that they catch them."

Tracey Parbery said: "This makes me mad, you have done so much for charities and now this. It's a sign its coming up to Christmas."

Mike said: "I'd like to thank everyone who has sent good wishes on social media, we really appreciate it. We realise what great customers we have."

The incident happened sometime after the store closed at 5.30pm on Saturday November 24.

Mike, who opened the store in 2005, said staff were horrified to find the scene when they turned up for work the next day at 9.30am.

Father-of-two Mike, who co-owns the store with his partner Shirley Little, said it is covered by insurance, but has also suffered from loss of earnings as it waited to get re-stocked.

The offenders stole the store’s computer hard drive and CCTV camera software as well as cutting its phone lines and internet.

Mike said CCTV images have been captured by a neighbouring property’s cameras, depicting at least two offenders.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “The offenders stole £40k worth of supplies, and poured an excessive amount of food into the fish tanks – killing all the fish.

“The matter remains under investigation by police and anyone with information should contact West Midlands Police via Live Chat at 8am - midnight, or call 101 anytime.”

Callers should quote crime number 20DY/274494G/18.