THE boss of a Galashiels convenience store has doubled staffing levels after two masked men attempted to force entry to the premises in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The raiders used a chisel in a bid to smash the reinforced glass door of the Tweed Road Stores just after 2.30am before fleeing the scene empty handed.

“My staff are naturally feeling a bit shaken and vulnerable,” said Richard Garrie, regional manager of Adam Purves which owns the outlet on the busy residential street.

“Up to now, a single shop assistant has been on duty in the early mornings and in the evening, so for the time being I’m making sure there are always at least two staff there at these times.”

Mr Garrie was having a weekend break in Blackpool with wife Tracy when he received a call from his son Ryan who had opened the shop at 6.30am.

“Ryan told me the glass on the front door was badly cracked and assumed it had been vandalised.

“But when we returned to Galashiels at about 1pm and viewed the CCTV footage from the eight cameras inside the shop, the horror of what happened became evident.

“The two men, wearing balaclavas with slits for their eyes, pulled up in a Peugeot 106 car on the pavement outside the shop, got out, and started trying to smash our front door with a chisel.

“They appeared to be disturbed by a passing motorist, but instead of driving off, they hid in their car and then returned eight minutes later to have another go. They seemed oblivious to the fact there were lots of houses around.

“They must have known that if they had entered the shop the alarm linked to the police station would have gone off, but they seemed unconcerned. Fortunately, the reinforced glass did its job and they eventually gave up and sped off.

“I have to say the local police who quickly responded to my call did a great job going door to door to take statements from residents and Scene of Crime officers came down from Edinburgh on Monday to carry out a thorough investigation. The police response has been very reassuring.

“As I understand it, the car used by the raiders has since been found burned out in Edinburgh.”

Police Scotland say the Tweed Road incident was one of a series of break-ins and attempted break-ins for which they are seeking witnesses.

The apparent spree began in West Linton at around 11.30pm on Saturday when the door of a house was damaged, but no entry was gained.

Further incidents followed at a café in Leadburn at around 1.30am and at the Glentress Hotel near Peebles at around 2.15am on Sunday. On both occasions, four-figure sums of cash were taken.

Following the Tweed Road incident, a hairdressers in Eyemouth was broken into and goods and a three-figure sum of cash were taken. Finally, the post office in Coldingham was broken into but nothing was taken.

Detective Constable Callum Peoples of Galashiels CIS said: “We are keen to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in these areas on Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

“We are following all lines of enquiry and keeping an open mind as to whether these incidents are linked.”

Anyone with information can contact officers on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.