CALLOUS thieves have stolen two charity collection tins and around £1000 in takings from a pub still recovering from the murder of its landlord.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the break-in at The Dolphin Inn, Whitecraig, which hit the headlines in October 2010 when then landlord Steven Curran, 47, was murdered in a car park at the rear of the premises.
The pub had gone into receivership since the tragedy but is understood to have turned a corner under the stewardship of publican Graeme Blaikie, below, who intends to buy the bar.
Thieves smashed their way though the back door of the rural pub overnight before looting the gaming machine and a safe containing a day’s takings as well as charity cash for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Cleaning staff raised the alarm on Monday morning and it is thought the break-in took place between 11pm on Sunday and 6.30am on Monday.
Landlord Mr Blaikie said he believed a team of crooks targeted the premises in a well- organised heist.
“I think they really knew what they were doing,” he said. “I was worried they had completely trashed the place but they have been into the office and messed that up and there is a little bit of mess in the kitchen.
“They stripped the bandit [gaming machine] quite well so they must have known what they were doing and then they have also opened the safe.
“I think there must have been two or three of them with each concentrating on a different section of the bar.”
Mr Blaikie said the robbery “left a bitter taste in his mouth” as the business had been on the up.
“From the safe they stole a day’s takings and about £300 of charity money that our darts team had raised,” he said. “They also took two charity tins from the bar that must have contained about £85 in coins. I think it’s a shame for the guys who have been working hard to collect the money.”
John Campbell, treasurer of the Dolphin Inn darts team, branded those responsible “despicable” and revealed it was the second time in two years charity money had been stolen from the bar.
“The first time they stole some bottles of alcohol from behind the bar and then took the collection bottle that had about £150 in it,” he said.
“I’m a bit numb about how people would do such a thing but I suppose these things are there to test you.
“The pub has had its fair share of bad news recently but hopefully we can turn this around.”
A police spokesman said: “We are eager to hear from anyone who was in or around the Dolphin Inn and remembers seeing anything suspicious.
“The loss of this money will undoubtedly impact upon the pub’s business and the theft of the charity tins highlights the callous nature of those responsible.”