BY IAN CROUCH
It's been confirmed an overnight ram raid and break and enter at two Lake Macquarie service stations are linked.
At about 25 past 4 this morning, 5 men in a stolen Grey Colorado Dual Cab broke into the Shell Service Station on Oxford Street Gateshead and made off with cigarettes.
Less than 5 minutes later, the vehicle was used in a ram raid on the BP outlet in Dudley Road at Whitebridge before being driven away.
It's not clear what was taken during the ram raid, although police have confirmed the cash register was damaged.
Lake Macquarie Police are investigating a ram raid on a service station at Whitebridge.
Police say a car was driven through the front doors of the BP outlet on Dudley Road just before 4.30 on Tuesday morning - it's believed the occupants escaped with several packets of cigarettes before driving off.
Minutes earlier, the Shell service station on Oxford Street Gateshead was broken into - it's not clear yet if anything was taken or whether the incidents are linked.