A balaclava-clad thief made off with more than $10,000-worth of tobacco from Whanganui New World supermarket early Saturday morning.

At 4.08am an intruder smashed a small hole at the bottom of one of the supermarket's windows facing Victoria Ave.

Constable Piet de Vegt said it appeared the person made their way directly to the cigarette cabinet at the checkouts and stole tobacco.

There was one staff member in the building and no alarms were on. The person was soon disturbed by the employee and fled out the window, taking a number of 30g and 50g tobacco pouches.

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They were of various brands and sell at up to $70 each. The total cost of what was taken is estimated to be $10,000 to $15,000.

Mr de Vegt said that did not include the cost of replacing the large window.

CCTV was operating at the time, and police are reviewing footage from the store and from Whanganui District Council cameras on Victoria Ave.

The offender wore a balaclava and could not readily be identified.

Anyone with information should contact Whanganui Police.