Lock up in lockdown after Bonawe break-ins

The remote area around the shore of Loch Etive where cottages and bothies have fallen victim to a spate of recent break-ins.

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Break-ins at two lochside bothies were discovered after the remote hideaways beyond Bonawe were drunk dry of alcohol.

It was only after news of two other break-ins at holiday cottages nearby that the bothy crime scenes were uncovered.

Now John Campbell who is key holder for the bothies run by the Borders Bothies Association is appealing for people in the area to stay vigilant and on the look out for anything or anyone suspicious.

Police are aware and are investigating says Mr Campbell  but in the meantime he is urging people in the lonely location to keep their doors locked.

Just over two weeks ago, people at a holiday cottage in the area had gone out for a walk and came back to find credit cards and cash missing, said Mr Campbell.

That same week, occupants of another cottage close by woke at night to hear a noise coming from the kitchen. When they went to investigate there was a man with a torch who ran off.  Worryingly after they locked the door and went back to bed, the culprit tried to get back in through a window.

Mr Campbell said: ‘This was two break-ins in one week so it got me thinking I should go and check the bothy I’m a keyholder for. I couldn’t see anything missing or damaged at first but then crucially I realised there was not a drop of alcohol left in the place, that was very odd. Usually people leave a wee dram for others,’ said Mr Campbell who then took it on himself to go and check another bothy close by.

‘The first place I checked was the drinks cabinet. The bottles were empty with the stops removed. Whoever had been there had not only been desperate for a drink but had been staying there quite awhile because the toilet was full, it can’t be flushed when the water’s switched off.

‘I went away and phoned the police. They came and took the bottles away for testing, I told them they could’ve got plenty of DNA from the toilet pan!’

It was later discovered a perspex pane had been removed then refitted to get into the first bothy. At the second bothy, entry had been gained by breaking a glass window.

‘Whoever’s responsible for this must have been on foot, there’s no direct access and it is over quite rough moorland and boggy, marshy areas to get to these places.

‘People need to be wide aware that this has happened in the community. It’s the first spate of break-ins here for along, long time. Sadly not locking doors is a thing of the past now,’ said Mr Campbell.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said officers have appealed locally for information and enquiries are continuing.

Anyone with any information should contact Oban Police Office through 101.