Thieves take off with cash in cafe raid

Border Meringues in Jedburgh.
Border Meringues in Jedburgh.

A Jedburgh businessman has vowed to carry on despite being left furious after burglars targeted his premises for the fifth time in the space of six years this week.

Intruders forced their way into the Border Meringues cafe and kitchens off Edinburgh Road on Saturday evening, breaking down a door and stealing a three-figure sum of money from its till.

Border Meringues in Jedburgh.

Border Meringues in Jedburgh.

The break-in happened between 9.10pm and 9.20pm on Saturday when two men used the dark-coloured motor scooter they arrived on to ram through the back door of the industrial unit.

Once inside, the men searched the building before making off with the three-figure contents of its till.

And owners Geoffrey and Sharon Banks admitted to wondering “if it was worth all the hassle” after seeing the damage on Sunday morning.

Mr Banks said: “This is the fifth time we’ve been hit by thieves, and you do tend to feel that you are begin targeted, but I am sure that’s not the case.

“But they were determined to break into the premises this time. We have got very good CCTV footage of them loitering and running into the back door of the building.

Mr Banks also got the impression from their actions and dress that the raiders were not just passing opportunist thieves.

“I think, in my own heart, I am pretty certain that these lads knew the layout and they knew what they were going for.

“I personally think that they knew the layout of the bit at the back of the industrial estate. By the way they drove in, you could tell they knew where they were going.

“When you see them on the CCTV, they park up close to the hedge, wait in the yard, try the doors and go round the back. They obviously had time to think about it.”

The business, expanded since it moved into the industrial estate seven years ago, was first broken into in 2011, when petty cash was stolen.

A year later, another break-in took place, although nothing was taken, and further attempted break-ins followed in 2014 and 2015.

Last weekend’s incident has shocked the couple the most, however.

“On Sunday, I was extremely angry and a little bit shocked,” Mr Banks added.

“Their determination and the fact that they obviously planned it made it worse. It’s very gruelling.

“It has shocked and worried me a little, just how determined they were.

“It’s going to cost us between £800 and £1,000 to sort it out. On top of that, we will add to the number of camera we have and to the outside lighting, just because of the 3% of society who don’t give a care.”

Despite his anger, Mr Banks still had high praise for the people of Jedburgh and the support they have given him since the raid.

He said: “The back door had been wide open since around 9.20pm on Saturday night until we got there on the Sunday morning, so that goes to show the honesty of the rest of the people in Jedburgh.

“People who come in on a regular basis are very supportive and understanding, as much as you can be.

“You just have to pick yourself up and carry on, but I have to admit that on Sunday we wondered if it was worth all the hassle.

“After five or six incidents in seven years, it gets to you a little bit, but the alternative is the closure of another business and Jed losing out again.

“It’s not fair on the staff that we have here and the young people who work at the weekends to make their money the right and honest way.”

He added: “My wife put a post up on Facebook letting our customers know what had happened and that we would be closed, and by the time she look again online that night, it had reached 34,000 people and had over 100 shares. That’s the power of social media.

“You just hope that somebody out there has read that and knows the circumstances. Somebody must know who these boys are.”

Police say inquiries are ongoing and are appealing for anyone with information about the break-in to come forward.

Detective constable Elizabeth Miller, of Galashiels CID, said: “This break-in has resulted in the business having to temporarily close due to the damage caused and the loss of goods.

“We are eager to trace those responsible and ask that anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area at the time, or who has seen anyone matching the descriptions of the suspects, to contact police immediately.”

Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown sympathised with the owners this week, saying: “I attended the scene as soon as I heard the bad news, having suffered the indignity of a break-in myself a few years ago my heart goes out to the owners, Geoff and Sharron.

“Running a small business is tough enough without finding themselves victim to this small section of society that will neither work nor want.

“I will be keeping in touch with our local police inspector to ensure this crime is solved quickly and hope the perpetrators are dealt with appropriately by the sheriff.”

The first suspect is described as of medium build, wearing a light-coloured motorbike helmet with a black strip, light-coloured jumper and trousers.

The second suspect is described as of medium build, wearing a dark-coloured motorbike helmet with a light-coloured strip, dark raincoat over a light coloured T-shirt, and light coloured trousers.

Witnesses are asked to call 101, quoting incident number 1,611 of October 1.