French pensioner crime couple caught on CCTV stealing from Skye gift shop


A FRENCH pensioner couple are at the centre of another Scottish island crime whodunnit.

Remarkable CCTV footage shows minute-by-minute how the gallic OAPs distracted staff at a Skye gift shop and made off with a £215 Harris Tweed jacket.

The theft, in the island’s main town of Portree, comes just two weeks after tiny Canna was rocked by its first crimes in half a century.

The culprits, who are still at large, stole groceries and cash together worth about £350 from Canna’s only two shops.

The couple enter the shop. The man is wearing a grey jacket and looks very slim


On Wednesday this week, Skye Crafts was targeted by an obviously experienced husband and wife crime team in their late 60s, who spoke with French accents.

Police are investigating but owner Cathy Freeman decided to release the CCTV footage in a bid to warn other retailers.

She said: “It’s terrible given what happened on the Isle of Canna just a few weeks ago.

“They’ve got it down to a tee. The first thing that goes through your mind is, ‘Is it related?’

“Are people targeting small communities because they seem to think they can get away with it? If they have, they’ve picked the wrong communities.”

The man hangs up the jackets he plans to try on before closing the cubicle curtain


Mrs Freeman, 55, said: “I feel bitter. I feel upset. I can’t explain it. It just leaves a nasty taste.

“It’s hard enough to make a living here – it’s a short season. They stole a high value item – it’s £216.”

In the videos – taken from three cameras – the couple enter the store and examine jackets.

The man takes two jackets to the changing cubicle while his accomplice distracts the shop assistant.

About three minutes later, the man slips out of the cubicle without pulling back the curtain.

It seems clear from the footage that the Harris Tweed jacket is hidden beneath his coat.

As the crook is in the cubicle his female accomplice distracts the shop assistant


Cathy said the woman was very distinctive – with a big gap between her front teeth.

She said: “He had on a flat cap and they were both wearing very thin gaberdine coats. Flimsy things you can put things on underneath, basically.

“I wasn’t there but my assistant said she’s pretty sure they were speaking French. The woman kept going, ‘Merci, merci’.

“When he comes out of the changing rooms, if you look at the back of him and the line of his coat, he’s a lot bulkier than when he comes in.”

The man slips out, looking much bulkier with the £215 Harris Tweed jacket beneath his light-coloured coat.


Cathy, who has two grown up children and lives with husband Richard, 59, said she decided to release the footage because “I was so annoyed”.

She added: “The likelihood of me getting my jacket back is minimal. But if it stops them doing it to someone else, it will be worth it.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We had a report of a theft at around 20.00 hours on the 24th June.

“It was a report of a theft from a commercial premises on Portree.

“The theft is believed to have occurred at around 17.00 hours on the same day. It was an item of clothing that was stolen.

“Enquiries remain ongoing at this time.”