Thieves are plaguing Aberdeen food vans so much that one trader is having to stake out his pitch overnight.
Criminals have raided at least four mobile eateries in Aberdeen in the last week – and one was broken into twice.
Two raids on Monday proved to be the final straw for trader Luca Sieron – who took the decision to guard his food van into the early hours, in case the culprits tried to strike again.
But even that was not enough to deter the offenders – who broke into yet another van after he left.
“It’s really frustrating; they have been trying to get in every second night for the last two weeks,” said the 31-year-old, who owns Luca’s Takeaway on Whitemyres Avenue in Mastrick.
Luca, of Seaton, added: “On Tuesday night I decided to stay outside because our two neighbours had been broken into.
“Another van got broken into just after I left.
“I never usually thought about CCTV because I only keep some crisps and sweets here, but now I’m considering it.”
Luca, who has run the van since 2011, said having to burn the midnight oil by the roadside is making him tired by the time he starts work at 7am.
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Among other traders targeted by the thieves is Ash Forbes, who runs The Castle food van on the same street.
Raiders smashed their way into his van at some point between 3.30pm on Monday and at 6.45am on Tuesday.
“The thing I was most angry about is they have stolen two charity collection tins – one from Children In Need and the other from Cancer Research UK,” said Ash.
The 31-year-old added: “I understand why they would be interested in valuables but to steal from charities is really low.”
The thieves stole an iPhone, juice and food.
Ash said: “I’ve had to have someone out to repair the damage and I am installing new locks and CCTV.
“Then my insurance premium will go up so it’s going to cost me £700 in total.
“It’s hard enough to make a pound in Aberdeen as it is and Christmas is around the corner.”
A Police Scotland spokesman appealed for information about a “spate” of break-ins on Whitemyres Avenue since October 16.
He said items stolen include kitchen supplies and large quantities of soft drink cans and chocolate.
“This has a huge financial impact on these businesses used daily by nearby workers,” said the spokesman.
Detective Sergeant Scott McKay said: “Officers have been carrying out inquires in the area in an effort to get more information and dedicated patrols have been set up by local Mastrick Inspector Mark Stephen.
“I am appealing to anyone with information, especially night-shift workers or delivery driver in the Whitemyres Industrial Estate during the hours of darkness, to report anyone who may have seemed suspicious by contacting Police Scotland on 101 quoting incident number 0505 of October 22 2019.”