TWO honesty shops on a tiny Scottish island have been raided in a mini crime spree – the first in half a century..
Stunned residents of Canna discovered the shelves of their community store had been stripped of £200-worth of groceries and six wooly hats on Friday night.
A gift shop at the island’s pier was also robbed of around £100 of cash and stock on the same day.
Only 26 people live on the island – but hundreds of sailors, kayakers, fishermen and other tourists visit annually.
Both shops operate on the principle of tourists and residents alike leaving a note of what they’ve taken plus the cash.
Sweets, chocolate bars, coffee, gifts, toiletries and batteries were among the items stolen from community store.
Six bottles of shower gel worth £12 each and £20 in cash were swiped from the pier shop.
Canna, one of the Inner Hebrides, takes over two hours to reach by ferry. It is only four miles long and lies 35 miles from the mainland, just south of the Isle of Skye.
The community shop is staffed mainly by volunteers and is left open around the clock. Customers make a note of what they have bought and leave the cash in an “honesty” box.
Free wi-fi and tea and coffee are also available.
The robberies are first recorded crimes since the 1960s when a carved wooden plate was stolen from the Rhu Church and never seen again.
The low crime clear-up rate is unsurprising as Canna has no police station or even a special constable.
A Police Scotland insider suggested it was unlikely officers would travel from the mainland to carry out an investigation.
Community shop manager Julie McCabe, who hand-knitted the stolen wool hats, said: ““At first I wasn’t going to report it because it was an honesty system, but the police were happy we did.
“We are all pretty gutted. I am absolutely floored that someone has been in and done that to our community.
“I went down and noticed a lot of items were gone. All of the sweets had been cleared out. I got that sinking feeling.
“There was no money taken, just groceries to the value of £200.
“We are going to have to consider locking the door at night. We are thinking about putting CCTV in but we don’t want to do that because it goes against the whole honesty idea.
“When you live on a small island like this you have to trust your neighbour and everybody round about.
“We don’t know who did it.”
Colin Irvine, who runs the Hebridean Beauty gift shop on the pier, said: “I went down on Saturday and I didn’t notice it right away. They took the paper money out of the honesty box and left the change. It was about £20.
“From us, they took things like bath oils and shower gels. It wasn’t instantly noticeable. I think there’s about 6 or 7 gone from about 40-odd bottles.
He added: “It’s a shock. One of the special things about the island is the trust and that’s kind of gone.”
A spokesman for Police Scotland said of the community shop theft: “A theft was reported to police, believed to have occurred between 8pm and 8am on the 12th of June, at 15.51.
“Enquiries are ongoing.”