Police were involved in a high-speed car chase through Lancashire following a night-time raid on a convenience store.
The force helicopter had to be scrambled to help apprehend the occupants of a car after it sped down the M6 to Preston, turned up the A59 towards Blackburn and was finally abandoned in the village of Mellor.
The drama happened in the early hours of Tuesday when an intruder alarm was activated at the Co-op Store in Hornby Road, Caton.
Shutters on the cigarette display had been forced open.
Police attending the scene saw a red Seat Leon leaving the area and circulated details of its registration plates.
The vehicle was picked up by patrols as it left the motorway at the Tickled Trout exit at Samlesbury and headed east at speeds which police say were “excessive.”
When it reached Mellor the car turned off the main road and headed into the village.
It was driven on to a small housing estate where four people decamped near Windy Ridge.
Officers say they ran off in different directions across farmland.
The Lancashire Police helicopter was called in along with teams of dog handlers to try and track down the escapees.
A large haul of cigarettes was recovered from the abandoned car, along with a crowbar found nearby.
Police say the Seat, which had false number plates, had been reported stolen from the Manchester area last October.
Three males were later arrested in connection with the chase.
A police spokesman said: “A 38-year-old, a 21-year-old and a 22-year-old, all from Manchester, are in custody in connection with the burglary.
“The 38-year-old man has also been arrested on suspicion of taking a motor vehicle without owner’s consent and driving a motor vehicle dangerously.”
Anyone with any information can call police on 101.