Police are urging businesses to be vigilant after at least 13 charity collections were stolen across the North-east in the lead-up to this weekend’s Remembrance Sunday.
A number of shops and other premises have been targeted during a succession of raids, including one in which four Poppy Scotland tins were taken.
In one incident a man and woman were captured on CCTV stealing a Cash for Kids container from DW Fitness at the Beach Boulevard Retail Park in Aberdeen.
The footage shows the pair distracting workers while the man, dressed all in black, swipes the tin from off the counter.
The pair were in and out of the gym in less than two-and-a-half minutes.
Fortunately, the bucket had been emptied shortly before their arrival and is believed to have contained less than £100.
Had the thieves struck only a few hours earlier, they could have made off with hundreds of pounds.
Meanwhile, the poppy tubs were taken from shops in Turriff’s High Street between November 3 and November 4.
Two Sainsbury’s Local stores in Aberdeen city centre and the Garthdee area were also targeted by the opportunist thieves.
And businesses in the Drummer’s Corner area of Peterhead also saw tins stolen.
Police said they were following a positive line of inquiry in relation to the thefts and have issued a warning to traders.
Detective Sergeant George Nixon said: “I would like to remind business owners who have charity tins in their premises to be vigilant with the tins and to review security arrangements, particularly during business hours, to avoid any similar incidents happening to them.
“Stealing is unacceptable in any situation, however, it is especially disappointing when the thefts are from charities.
“We are currently investigating these incidents and I would appeal to anyone who has seen anything suspicious involving charity tins to call police with information.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.