Hawick traders urged to remain on alert despite arrest

Drumlanrig Place in Hawick.
Drumlanrig Place in Hawick.

Continued caution is being urged among retailers despite a man being arrested and charged in connection with a series of town centre break-ins over recent weeks.

Outlets in and around the High Street have been the target of recent burglaries, including charity shops Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and Capability Scotland, beauty product premises Retreat, the town’s Iceland store and Fonehouse.

Hawick councillor Watson McAteer outside Retreat in Silver Street, Hawick.

Hawick councillor Watson McAteer outside Retreat in Silver Street, Hawick.

An estimated £4,000 worth of products is believed to have been snatched in last week’s break-in at Retreat in Silver Street, and a charity bottle, containing around £600 in coins, was taken in the break-in at Iceland in Victoria Road.

Now, a 34-year-old Hawick man has been charged in connection with the offences, and a report has been sent to the procurator fiscal.

He is expected to appear at Jedburgh Sheriff Court next week.

Officers have recovered a quantity of beauty products from an address in Drumlanrig Place, Hawick, believed to be worth a four-figure sum.

Chief Inspector Andy McLean, Police Scotland’s area commander for the Borders, said: “Thefts from businesses are completely unacceptable, and we will not tolerate them taking place in the Hawick community.

“I would ask anyone who is aware of any housebreakings in their local community to contact us.

“Those wishing to report a crime can contact police via 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

Mr McLean also denied a claim by Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer that the town is in the grip of a crime wave encouraged by a lack of visible police patrols.

While welcoming the latest development, Mr McAteer, a retired police divisional commander, urged a continuing “dynamic police response” to any further crimes.

He said: “It appears the individual arrested has been charged with a number of crimes committed at commercial properties during the past few weeks, so that has got to be really good news.

“It is important that lessons are learned and that action by businesses to limit security risks, together with a dynamic police response should a crime occur, results in public reassurance, so it’s good news, but remaining vigilant is essential.”