A SHOP owner has spoken of losing everything after masked thugs smashed the front of this store and ripped out a cash machine.

Thieves targeted the Go Local newsagents in Wigan Road, Westhoughton, shortly after 2.30am this morning, destroying much of the front of the shop.

Mr Singh, who lives with his family in a flat above the shop, said he had been woken up in the early hours of by a loud bang and was worried the masked men he saw outside his home would hurt his wife and children.

He said the thieves, who escaped in a pickup truck, had “taken everything”.

He added: “I have worked hard all my life and saved every penny to look after my family and they destroyed it all in minutes.”

Mr Singh moved to the area in December bringing his wife and two children, one of whom has autism.

“I moved here recently from London and I am not well known in the area so that’s already scary,” he said.

“I was sleeping above the shop and I heard a huge banging. I looked out of the window and there was a guy out there with a mask on.

“He saw me and I thought that there were going to come and get us. My first priority was to protect my family.”

According to police, the thieves covered their faces, forced open the shutters of the shop and stole a free-standing cash machine before making off in a truck.

After the burglary the pick-up – described as being a gold colour - is thought to have made off in the direction of Wigan.

Police believe there may have also been a second vehicle involved.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 5757 quoting reference 0181 of 14/06/19.

Alternatively, information can be supplied anonymously using the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.