A GANG of housebreakers are suspected of staging a raid at a golf club which saw them rip up floorboards in an office to make off with the safe.
The thieves broke into Dundas Park Golf Club, on the outskirts of South Queensferry, and also stole the CCTV recorder which had filmed them in the act.
Detectives believe the suspects carried out break-ins to four homes during the same evening after scouring the area for potential targets.
As well as targeting the golf club, located near Dundas Castle, the thieves stole jewellery from a home in Echline Gardens, South Queensferry, and escaped empty-handed after hitting a trio of addresses in Linlithgow, West Lothian, between 7pm and 9pm on Tuesday.
In an attempted break-in at Baillielands in Linlithgow, two suspects were disturbed by residents as they tried to force their way through a back door.
Officers believe another spate of break-ins in West Lothian last month, which included the theft of Masonic memorabilia from a home in East Whitburn, may also be connected.
Jimmy Wood, club manager of the nine-hole course, said: “They forced their way through the patio doors to get into the clubhouse then went into the office and dug up the floorboards to release the safe and took it away.
“There is no way two people could have lifted it and taken it 50 metres back through the clubhouse. More people had to be involved. The break-in could have not taken place until 9pm because we still had golfers on the course till then. It was discovered by our greenkeeper when he came in at 6am.”
Mr Wood said that police officers had told him they suspected the thieves may have had “inside information” about the golf club.
He said: “They broke into the portable building where the CCTV recorder was kept and took that. They obviously knew what they were doing because the cables leading to the recorder were underground.
“The safe had a few hundred pounds in it. It will also cost us £400 or £500 to buy a new safe and we’ve had a joiner in to repair the floorboards.”
Police said they did not know if more than two people were involved in the break-ins but were keeping an open mind as the investigation continued.
Detective Sergeant Nick Brookfield, from Livingston CID, said: “Two men tried to force entry to the rear of a property in Baillielands but they were disturbed by the two occupiers. The only description is that they were probably aged between 18 and 25.
“Given the time of night, the suspects probably believed no one was home at the time.We believe these break-ins are linked because of similarities in the ways the properties were targeted.”