Police suspect link between Earlston shed break-ins and Oxton tractor theft bid

Oxton Community Council members taking delivery of the mini-tractor from supplier Thomas Sherriffs Ian Lauder, accompanied by SSEs Ciara Wilson and Channelkirk Primary School pupils, back in 2014.
Oxton Community Council members taking delivery of the mini-tractor from supplier Thomas Sherriffs Ian Lauder, accompanied by SSEs Ciara Wilson and Channelkirk Primary School pupils, back in 2014.

Police are appealing for witnesses following two shed break-ins in Earlston and an attempted mini-tractor theft 12 miles up the A68 in Oxton.

The two break-ins in Earlston were carried out between the evening of Tuesday, November 7, and the morning of Thursday, November 9, at addresses in Everest Road and Kidgate.

Three off-road motorbikes together worth £7,100 were stolen from Everest Road.

Two mountain bikes and power tools were taken at Kidgate, though the bicycles were later found abandoned nearby.

Officers believe the two break-ins might well be linked, along with a failed bid to steal a community-owned mini-tractor in nearby Oxton during much the same time period.

That took place between 2pm on Tuesday and 8am on Wednesday at a yard in Heriotfield.

Entry to the yard was forced, but the crooks fled empty-handed after failing to remove the John Deere 1026R sub-compact tractor.

The tractor, fitted with a snow blade and gritter, was bought by Oxton Community Council in 2014 using an £11,500 grant from energy firm SSE’s Toddleburn wind farm community fund.

Constable Craig Hood, of Kelso police station, said: “Our inquiries are trying to establish if all of these offences have been carried out by the same person or group of people, and we are keen to hear from any members of the public who believe they have information relevant to these investigations.

“If you saw any suspicious activity around Oxton or the Everest Road and Kidgate areas of Earlston over the past few days, please contact police immediately. In particular, we are keen to trace the driver and any occupants of a black estate-type car with a loud exhaust, as well as a white van, believed to have been within both Oxton and Earlston around the time of these incidents.

“If you can help us trace these individuals, then please also come forward.

“The tractor was purchased by Oxton Community Council and is a very valuable piece of equipment to the local area.

“Thankfully, it was not stolen, but we are treating this incident very seriously.”

Anyone with information on the Earlston break-ins is asked to call police on 101, quoting incident numbers 461 or 598 of November 9. The incident number for the mini-tractor theft bid is 525 of November 8.

Alternatively, anonymous reports can be made via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.