Police have confirmed that thieves broke into the Odeon cinema in Central Southend late on Wednesday evening, stealing more than £350m of Pick ‘n’ Mix.

According to details that have been released, a gang of four individuals gained access to the building through the goods entrance to the rear, and then carefully hacked into the computer that controls the secure vault where the sweets are stored.

Community Police Officer PC Reginald Peacie added: ‘This is a disgusting crime that will lead to a significant amount of financial hardship for the cinema.’

‘In total, around 25 kilos of Pick ‘n’ Mix was removed from the building, which at current market rates would have fetched in the region of £350m in the regular retail environment.’

‘The gang clearly knew exactly what they were doing as they ignored the similar reserves of Pick ‘n’ Mix that are kept at the adjacent Wilkos store – this is why we are keeping an open mind about it being an inside job.’

‘Odeon only sells Pick ‘n’ Mix that is hand-sourced from the confectionary mines of Addis Ababa – this is why security is always incredibly tight around any stock.’

‘The fried eggs and strawberry laces alone could pull a small African nation out of deficit, and so we have alerted police forces around the world and asked them to remain vigilant.’

A spokesperson for Odeon Cinemas told our Chief Reporter that one of the thieves also tripped over a cable and disconnected the power supply for a Häagen-Dazs freezer.

The cinema chain is expected to appoint a team of administrators shortly.