Shop owners throughout Moray are being warned to be on their guard following the raid on a local post office that saw a cash machine being stolen.
A vehicle was used to smash through the front of the local post office in Duffus on Wednesday in an incident that was very similar to several that have taken place this month in Aberdeenshire.
It is not the first time a Moray post office has been raided, masked raiders having held up the former postmaster in nearby Hopeman and stealing £25,000 four years earlier.
Now current Hopeman postmaster Adrian Dunn fears that thieves now have their eyes on other shops in the region. He said: “You worry because the gang seem to be targeting exposed places and we have a cash machine here.
“It is emptied every night but, by the time any thieves realised there was nothing in it, they could have caused a lot of damage.”
Following the Duffus raid postmaster Richard Ringrose indicated that only a small amount of cash was held in the stolen machine. Mr Ringrose says that he is now considering placing a metal shutter in front of his shop: “It would be a shame to have to do so but it would be more secure.”
Police are now encouraging extra vigilance throughout the region, with Detective Inspector Norman Stevenson commenting: “I want to encourage shopkeepers to consider the security of their shops.
“If CCTV is installed make sure it is all in working order. Members of the public are also urged to report any suspicious activity they see during the evenings and night time to the police.”