Warning as string of thefts hit west coast

West-coast residents are being warned to ensure outbuildings and goods are secured at night following a string of thefts.

Police Scotland have received reports of thefts from the Glenelg, Ratagan, Glenmoriston and Gairloch areas, with power tools, fuel and various other items taken from secured and insecure work vehicles, sheds and outbuildings. The thefts are believed to have occurred over the weekend.

Initial assessments are that these crimes have been planned and researched by  criminals coming into the area from the central belt and residents are urged to contact the police to report any suspicious activities.

Reports from members of the public have already led to a 51-year-old man from Northern Ireland being arrested for the theft of tools in the Gairloch area while on 3rd October three Romanian men were arrested for a break-in in the Lochaber area. A further four Romanian men have been reported in connection with break-ins reported in Fort William since the end of September and three thefts in the Evanton area similar in character to those in Fort William are still under investigation.

In addition, on 23rd October eight Romanian men were detained in Nairn, resulting in three arrests for crimes at a nearby Morayshire industrial premises. A police spokesman added that there were links between the group carrying out the crimes in Fort William and those detained in Nairn.

Enquiries are ongoing in relation to a series of eight thefts carried out in the Glenmoriston, Glenshiel and Glenelg areas along with thefts from three vans in the Badenoch Area, three vans in Evanton, two building sites in the Onich area, a commercial yard near Loch Ness and another in the Kiltarlity area since 22nd October.

Chief Superintendent Julian Innes: “I am very grateful for the excellent public and media support. The recent coverage has led to two bogus workmen and one travelling thief being identified. I am in no doubt that this has prevented further crime in the Highlands.

“We ask that people living and working within our communities remain vigilant and mindful of security and continue to contact us regarding any suspicious behaviour as we send a clear deterrent message to these criminals and keep our communities safe.”