Four men have been caught on CCTV robbing a service station and filling a doona cover with their loot of stolen cigarettes, before spilling it as they flee in a car.

The group, all wearing hooded jumpers, gloves and hiding their faces, broke into a service station on the Burwood Highway at Tecoma, in Melbourne’s outer east, earlier this month.

Two of the men are seen smashing their way in about 2:30am before running to the car with a doona cover filled with cigarettes.

When they fail to fit the bursting doona into the boot, they then decide to drag the sack alongside the car as they escape.

Police said they lost about a third of their loot in the process as it trailed along the road.

The thieves also used a doona cover to make off with cigarettes in a similar incident at a shopping centre in nearby Kilsyth.

Police believed the group has also targeted five other places including service stations at Lilydale, Yarra Glen and Eltham North in the past few months.

It is believed the thieves have stolen up to $38,000 worth of goods.

Police released CCTV footage of the incident at Tecoma in the hope someone would recognise the men.

One of the men is described as having a solid build and was wearing a white hooded jumper with a dark hood over the top, red pants and runners.

Other is described as having a thin build and was wearing a dark blue hooded jumper with a white logo on the front, dark shorts and runners.

The third man had a thin build and was wearing a red hooded jumper, dark track pants with a white stripe and runners.

Police have urged anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

Extracted in full from ABC.