BORDERS traders have expressed their dismay after a spate of break-ins this week.
One attempt, in West Linton, was caught on camera by shopkeeper Shaz Ramzan. Another incident – in Innerleithen – saw charity cash stolen.
All seven break-ins and attempted break-ins occurred overnight on Monday.
Three business premises in Innerleithen were broken into including a tanning salon, coffee shop and a bakery. A garage in Hawick was also broken into.
Attempts were made to force entry to a clothing shop in Selkirk and two local shops in West Linton. However, these were unsuccessful and nothing was stolen.
Mr Ramzan, from J&R Bell newsagents in West Linton, praised a member of the public for disturbing the thieves and chasing them down the road in his car.
He told us: “I am very upset and worried it might happen again. This was the second time in 12 months this has happened.
“We have released CCTV footage of the incident on our Facebook page which occurred outside our shop and across the road.
“I’d like to thank Eric Small for disturbing the thieves in the act and chasing them in his car.
“If anyone has information please contact Police Scotland with the incident number 0439.”
CCTV footage from J&R Bell newsagents in West Linton. Video: Shaz Ramzan
Around £300 of cash and donations were taken from the No 1 Peebles Road cafe in Innerleithen.
Cafe owner Craig Anderson said: “Other than being annoyed that people have planned a whole night of robbery, the real nasty is the fact that money for people in real need had been taken.
“Our community has come together to raise money for our twinned village of Thondwe in Malawi. Having that effort thwarted is the most distressing part.
"Half of the money stolen is for the Thondwe project. We will be setting up a just giving page to avoid any further losses for the project.”
From the four successful housebreakings, numerous items including a four figure sum of cash were taken.
At several of the addresses targeted, a small red vehicle was seen which contained three occupants wearing dark clothing and balaclavas.
Local officers suspect that all break-ins are linked and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Detective Sergeant Barry Roebuck from Galashiels Pro-Active CID said:
“As part of our ongoing investigation we would ask that anyone who remembers seeing any suspicious activity within any of the areas affected to contact police as soon as possible.
“We’re particularly eager to speak to the occupants of a small red-coloured vehicle that was seen in the area at the time and who may have information that could help.”
Chief Inspector Andrew McLean, Area Commander for the Scottish Borders said: “Police Scotland treat all crimes of dishonesty with the highest priority and I would like to reassure the public and local residents of the areas affected that we will continue with our pro-active patrols and road checks in an effort to deter and detain those responsible.”
Those with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or alternatively anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.