BRAZEN raiders snatched clothes worth an estimated £18,000 from a Piece Hall shop after smashing their way in through the roof of the Grade I listed building.
The thieves are believed to have scaled the Orangebox building under construction next door, then jumped onto the roof of the Halifax landmark.
They then lifted off slates and lowered themselves down into the Friendly Dragon store using a knotted rope.
Once inside, they broke a window and squeezed out through a tiny frame before shattering the window of Chaos Clothing next door to get in.
Lucy Perkins, who owns and runs the shop together with her family, said: “It is heartbreaking what they have done.
“It’s very difficult to cope with, because for us, being a small business, it’s our whole livelihood that has been damaged.”
The 23-year-old, of Barkisland, said it had clearly been a well-planned strike.
“They had obviously been into our shop and scoped out what we do.
“Our faith in customers and in Halifax as a whole has been shaken.
She added: “We’ve still got the rope because they left it on the roof. They’d tied knots in it so it was like a ladder.
“There were no fingerprints - they used gloves. The amazing thing that the police have said as well is how they actually squeezed through those tiny windows, and there was no blood anywhere.”
The shop was ransacked and 95 per cent of its stock, mainly clothes, bags and accessories, was snatched.
Lucy’s stepfather Jon Hoyle, 54, said: “We had about 12 articles of clothing left. It was just full of coat hangers.”
Some of the stock was ditched as the thieves fled, but was damaged and now cannot be sold.
“They’d ripped the stuff through a broken window so it’s unsaleable because it’s full of broken glass,” said Jon.
The shop has had to close since the break-in was discovered on Tuesday morning, but Friendly Dragon, which the family also owns and runs, has been able to stay open.
It is hoped Chaos Clothing, which stocks edgy fashion brands such as Religion and Iron Fist, will be back up and running by the weekend.
Lucy said: “At least we know we are selling the right things, because they’re obviously in high demand.”
She appealed to anyone being offered those brands for sale in the area to get in touch and thanked all the well-wishers who had been in touch since the incident.
“Thanks to all our customers who have supported us through this terrible time,” she said.
A Calderdale Council spokesman said: “We are currently carrying out repairs and we have already taken measures to increase security at the Piece Hall.”
A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police said: “We are carrying out inquiries into a break-in at the Piece Hall in Halifax town centre between 8pm on Monday and 8am on Tuesday.
“It appears one shop in the Piece Hall has been broken into to gain access to another, causing damage to both premises.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Calderdale Police on 101.