Brazen thieves have stolen hundreds of pounds from a north-east restaurant – after walking out with the safe.
The Quayside Restaurant and Fish Bar and Gourline Fish Merchants, both in Gourdon, were targeted late on Friday night.
In total items including cash and electrical goods worth more than £1,000 were taken from the two premises.
In the first incident, the intruders made off with about £700 – lifting the safe and walking out.
Owner Ewen Lovie’s business partner, who raised the alarm, said: “I’m shocked that such a thing could happen in a small village like this.”
The break-ins occurred just weeks after the Ramsay Arms Hotel in Fettercairn was raided, with the culprits making off with the day’s takings and alcohol.
In that incident, staff had noticed a couple acting suspiciously in the bar and eventually asked them to leave.
They drove off in a red Mercedes.
Last night, police said that although they were keeping an “open mind”, it was likely the three break-ins were connected.
A police spokeswoman said: “Given the small distance between the commercial premises, it is likely the crimes were connected.”
Dc Graeme Roberston, who is leading inquiries, said: “I would appeal to anyone with information to contact police as soon as possible, in particular if you saw any unusual vehicles or people in the village through the night.
“This is an area which would be extremely quiet during the times in question, and where crime of this nature is very rare.
“It won’t be tolerated and numerous lines of onquiry are being pursued.
“Anyone with information should contact Police quoting reference number. 0831 of May 5, or Crimestoppers if you would prefer to remain anonymous on 0800 555111.
“In particular if you live in the area leading out to the A92 and have private CCTV footage which could assist, please contact us if you haven’t spoken to officers yet.”