The five-strong gang was given vital information about the workings of the Hyperama cash and carry business in Richmond Street, West Bromwich, by its floor manager Dean Berrington, alleged Mr Stefan Kolodynski, prosecuting at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Berrington and supervisor Darvinder Kang were locking up the premises for the night when the masked robbers struck on April 9 last year.
The raiders were armed with a gas-powered air pistol and baseball bat when they got into the building through a staff fire exit door that should have been locked, the court was told.
Mr Kang had the gun "thrust into his face," was trussed up hand and foot with gaffer tape and forced to lie on the ground for around 40 minutes while the gang ferried pallets of cigarettes on trolleys to a Hyperama van for which they had the key.
They also took cash from the firm's safe and tied up 41-year-old Berrington but Mr Kolodynski claimed the way he was handled was a "pantomime" when compared to Mr Kang's treatment.
The pair managed to free themselves after the gang left and Berrington rang the emergency services and sounded the alarm.
The Mitsubishi van loaded with the stolen haul had a tracker which enabled police to follow its route from the warehouse that ended outside the home of 52-year-old local shop owner Satnam Singh in Jesson Road, Walsall.
Singh was allegedly found "hiding" in his garage behind boxes of cigarettes from Hyperama, continued the prosecutor.
Several people linked to the crime were also arrested outside the house and the gun was found in a footwell of the van, the jury was told.
The phone of alleged member Brandon Morris was found in the VW car that took them to and from the warehouse.
There had been a meeting the day before the robbery between Berrington and Jay Brownhill, the organiser of the gang and owner of the VW, it was claimed.
Brownhill, who has since been killed in a motorcycle accident, rang Berrington shortly before he handed himself in to police on April 16 last year maintained Mr Kolodynski.
Morris, 22, from Lellow Street, West Bromwich; Berrington, of Crankhall Lane, Wednesbury and Singh deny conspiracy to rob and possession of an imitation firearm.
Brownhill has since died in a road accident.
The case continues.