Craig Douglas, owner of the award winning St Boswells firm J C Douglas, has appealed for help to shop crooks who stole over £5000 from his shop on Christmas Eve.
Craig, who made the grim discovery, said: "I arrived at the shop at 6.30am on Christmas Eve, I came round the corner to the back door of the shop as I always do and immediately spotted the iron bars had somehow been prised apart and the window smashed. My heart immediately sank as I knew how much money was in the safe. And as soon as I opened the door my worst fears were realised.
"I was so angry, and so upset, I was in tears as it is a lot of money and all the staff here have worked really hard over the festive period only for someone to break in and steal it. I phoned my wife and she didn't believe me at first, it was such a destroying feeling."
Craig added: "There had been a lot of big orders at the shop with many orders in excess of £200 at a time, it had been so busy I put the money which was over £5000 in the safe overnight.
"I genuinely believed the shop to be secure, but I have this really uncomfortable feeling that someone has planned this over a period of time, and seemed to know when to pounce. The loss is a huge hit to the business, I still have some hefty bills to pay out for turkeys and beef. While Christmas may be a busy time, it also helps off-set the quieter time of January and February."
J.C. Douglas employs four people at the St. Boswells shop, it is a business which has been in the headlines for all the right reasons in recent years with a string of national titles for the award winning meats. Customers have been quick to rally round Craig all showing their support for one of their own.
Craig added: "My family and my valued customers have been great, and extremely supportive. The whole incident had the potential to ruin Christmas for me and my family, but I refused to let that happen. We work really hard all year round and deserve to be able to enjoy a holiday. But there is no doubt that throughout the day the theft was always at the back of my mind. I am offering a reward to help catch whoever did this and bring them to justice."
A police spokesperson told the Border Telegraph: "Enquiries are progressing regarding this incident, and we would urge any member of public who may think they have seen something to come forward. You may have seen someone unusual, or someone acting suspiciously and it could be that one vital piece of information that helps us detect the offender. Members of the public should also remember that you can contact us anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111."