Two thefts occurred within just a few hours of each other, on Skye and Canna, it emerged this week.
On Saturday morning Sandy Masson, the founder of Skye Forest Garden in Armadale, discovered that their donation box near the pier had been removed — along with the seven-foot-high pole to which it was attached. The box contained about £30, she said, and the money is used to maintain the gardens and to feed the hens and ducks.
“On the previous Wednesday someone tried to break into the box,” she added. “It was damaged but nothing was stolen. The box was fixed and we thought no more of it until Saturday when we saw the whole thing had been wrenched out of the ground.
She added: “The local police were called and came out promptly. They are looking out for folk in pubs and local shops who are paying using a lot of small coins, but we still have no idea who has done such a terrible thing. We have no funding — we rely entirely on the donation box money to see us through the winter once visitors have gone — and are gutted that someone could do this in broad daylight.”
Also on Friday night/Saturday morning the community shop on the neighbouring island of Canna was robbed. Sweets, chocolate, coffee, biscuits, toiletries, batteries and more. were taken.
An Isle of Canna Development Trust statement was posted on Facebook.
“In the four years our shop has been run on an honesty basis this is the first time this has happened and we are all gutted by it,” the trust wrote. “Most upsetting for Julie [McCabe, the shop manager] was they stole six of her handknitted Canna wool hats which were in the shop on a sale or return basis. The thieves would have had to fill carrier bags with the amount of items they took.
“Sadly, this means we will have to lock the door of the shop overnight now. We left it open specifically to welcome fisherman in to use the wi-fi and buy anything they needed while resting in at our pier overnight. The feedback from the fishing community was that it is a most welcome service. It is therefore very sad that they and other visitors have to lose out.”
Inquiries into both thefts are ongoing, a police spokesman said. Those with any information can phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or police on 101.