Thieves have broken into a Loch Lomond Homes and Gardens Centre and stolen children’s charity tins.
The criminals smashed their way into the Balloch garden centre in the early hours of Sunday morning.
They stole three collection tins and caused extensive damage.
Partner charities to Loch Lomond garden centre affected
The fundraising pots were for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), Calum’s Cabin and the British Red Cross. They would have been full of money when taken.
Lorna Callaghan said the family firm, based at Stirling Road, is heartbroken by the theft. She described it as “sickening”.
Lorna said: “One of the owners of the business has family connections to Calum’s Cabin. It’s a devastating break-in for us.
“You put your heart and soul into driving the business forward and this leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
“It’s disheartening as a family business and it makes everyone feel very wary.
“How can people feel they have the right to break in and help themselves like they have, stealing charity tins?
The culprits broke in at around 4.10am on Sunday morning. The thieves smashed into the garden centre allegedly using garden tools.
They first broke glass windows on a conservatory, before smashing the cafeteria and office doors.
The centre’s alarm spooked them and they grabbed the three tins from the till area before making their escape.
Lorna continued: “Our road was closed. They may only have been able to get to us by coming up the burn at the back of the garden centre.
“They may have come home quite mucky with soaking wet footwear and trousers, which we are asking people to think about.
“There’s been a spate of garden centres broken into lately so somebody is targeting them.
“We were also broken into last year so it’s disheartening that it’s happened again.”
Second time break in
Thieves stole a safe containing cash from the garden centre in June last year.
Police responded to the alarm at the business where they saw the thieves had broken into the property and made off with the safe with cash inside.
Officers at Dumbarton CID are investigating the latest crime.