Friday 15 December 2017

Island shocked by shop theft

Goods have been stolen from a community shop on the Scottish island of Canna
Goods have been stolen from a community shop on the Scottish island of Canna

A tiny Scottish island has been hit by a rare crime after thieves raided its only shop.

The community shop in Canna, in the Inner Hebrides, has been run on an "honesty basis" for four years, with customers noting down the groceries and items they take in a book and leaving the money in a box.

Run by volunteers, it is regularly left open overnight to allow fishermen who dock at the island's pier to get what they need at any time b ut the community group which runs the shop said that will now have to change after the theft on Friday night.

When staff checked on the store on Saturday morning, they realised the shelves had been emptied of sweets, biscuits, coffee, toiletries, batteries and six hand-knitted wool hats that had been on display.

Roughly four miles (6.4km) long and a mile (1.6km) wide, Canna has a population of about 20 people and relatively few incidents are thought to have happened on the island over the last 50 years.

Police said they did not know the history of crime on the island but that the shop theft was "rare".

Councillor Bill Clark, who has represented the area for 13 years, said: "It's quite unbelievable, it's something you don't hear about at all in the Inner Isles.

"I would think this is the first crime in years - I don't know for sure but I certainly haven't heard of any crime there in my time.

"I doubt very much if anyone even locks their doors there."

A message posted on Facebook by the Isle of Canna Community Development Trust said: " Sadly our community shop was robbed on Friday night. 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 thieves cleared the shelves of sweets, chocolate bars, coffee, biscuits, toiletries, batteries and more. Most upsetting for Julie (the shop manager) was they stole six of her hand-knitted Canna wool hats which were in the shop on a sale or return basis. These hats are all unique.

"The thieves would have had to fill carrier bags with the amount of items they took."

Police officers on the mainland are investigating the incident and want to speak to anyone who was docked at Canna pier on Friday night.

The Trust message continued: " Sadly, this means we will have to lock the door of the shop overnight now. We left it open specifically to welcome fishermen 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.

"On Friday night a fishing boat was in at our pier all night - Mary Anne CY340, which we were told works out of Tarbert/Loch Fyne and is skippered by George Brown. If they have any info or witnessed anything, please get in touch.

"If anyone else has any information about this crime please let us know.

"With such a small community, this is the only way our shop can be viably run to provide a valuable service to locals and visitors.

"Thefts like this put our shop in jeopardy and may mean it will have to close, which would be a real shame after all the hard work and voluntary hours that go into it."

The National Trust for Scotland, which owns the island, said: "We were sorry to hear about this theft from the shop on Canna, which the community have worked hard to make a success.

"Thankfully, incidents like this are extremely rare and Canna is a very safe place."

Press Association

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