SWEET-toothed thieves have swiped thousands of pounds worth of goods, including confectionery, from some of Scotland’s most historic buildings.
Famous castles and palaces – built to be the last word in security – have become victims of the opportunistic thieves, who pocket hundreds of gift shop souvenirs every year.
A Freedom of Information request to Historic Scotland has revealed that 1,506 items have gone missing from top tourist attractions, including Edinburgh Castle and Linlithgow Palace, since 2007.
£4,785.25 worth merchandise has been taken from historic edifices, including a £400 iPad from an interpretation display at Stirling Castle and thousands of low-cost items, including sweets and stationary items.
And Highlanders will be wondering if Nessie has developed a sweet tooth after Urquhart Castle, which sits on the banks of Loch Ness, saw its gift shop thefts more than triple from 32 to 114 items stolen in five years.
A spokesman from Historic Scotland said confectionery items and stationery were amongst the most popular items to be pocketed by history fans.
The FOI request revealed the number of thefts at Stirling Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, Skara Brae, St. Andrews Castle, Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, Iona Abbey and St. Andrews Castle has risen from 252 items in 2007 to 307 in 2011.
The most targeted Historic Scotland pile was Edinburgh Castle where 766 items were stolen over a five year period, all from the top tourist attraction’s gift shop.
By comparison, Linlithgow Palace only had nine items pinched since 2007.
Stirling Castle, which beat attractions such as the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament to be Which? UK’s favourite attraction earlier this week, was the second most targeted building with 310 items stolen in five years.
A spokesman from Historic Scotland said confectionery and stationery were amongst the “low cost items” that had been spirited away from gift shops.
Another spokesman added: “Historic Scotland operates a retail business within its visitor attractions, and is subject to the same stock loss pressures as other high street retailers.
“Since 2007, the agency’s retail business has seen a turnover of £32 million, and grown by 17%. Historic Scotland has also welcomed over 15 million visitors to its properties over this period.
“We take thefts at all our sites very seriously. Our staff are vigilant, and we are always seeking to improve security across all our properties. We take all practical steps required to prevent theft.”